Amidst the verdant hills and remote corners of Vietnam’s rural regions, the growth that has transformed the economy in this part of Southeast Asia in recent decades can be hard to see. Undernourishment among children still results in stunting – even in cities too where overweight/obesity is also on the rise.
As incidents of drought and extreme rainfall increase, farmers in Southeast Asia are partnering with experts to develop targeted weather forecasts to work around the threats and, when adaptation becomes too costly, buy specially designed insurance to protect their livelihoods.
Madhuri Roy left the famous Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam. She had sought the goddess’s blessings for the safe delivery of her youngest daughter's baby, which was due in a few weeks. Shanty shops lined the temple outside and Roy’s eyes fell on a stack of black rice packets. All through her daughter’s pregnancy she had craved her childhood favourite black rice pudding. But during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown Roy could not procure it even though Meghalaya, her Himalayan home state, grew it.
Peris Wanjiku, a smallholder farmer in Othaya, Nyeri County, which lies approximately 152 kilometres from Kenya's capital, Nairobi, has watched as her fellow farmers have slowly started to sell off their land in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns.
After Joseph Mandu lost his job because of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, he would still wake every morning and leave his home in the City Carton slum in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. But instead of heading to the restaurant he worked at as a pool-table attendant, he would walk around City Carton searching for odd jobs to earn an income so he could pay for the food his family needed to survive.