Drought Mitigation

In the long run, soil and water conservation practices can prepare for and mitigate droughts. NIAST carried out research on multiple functions of paddy farming according to agricultural production conditions to support agricultural issues such as climate change, natural disasters, farm product disaster insurance, and direct payments provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Korea.

The NIAST has quantified the positive impacts of paddy farming, including flood prevention, enhancement of water resources, air and water purification, and soil erosion alleviation (Seo et al., 2001). Negative impacts include the emission of greenhouse gases, nitrogen leaching, and the amount of agricultural water use (Seong et al., 2001). Crop simulation models based on weather data can be used to predict irrigation schedules to aid drought mitigation.

The main activity to mitigate drought in Korea is to compensate for drought damages. First, the severity of drought is assessed by the CACM (Committee of the Agricultural Counter Measure) on the basis of monetary damages. The drought index and precipitation are not legal references. When the funds required for restoring a drought-affected area exceed U.S. $2.5 million for a county, the committee confirms the drought occurrence and recommends that the compensation be provided by the government. Half of the total funds are used to improve water resources by purchasing pumps and other equipments and to pay for electricity and gas, and to dig wells. In addition, the government is obliged to provide aid to those who suffer, to reduce their families' school expenses, reduce the interest rate of official loans, and to provide stored rice for food, under the Counter Measure Law of Agricultural Disaster.

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