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Representatives of the governments of each of the five countries affected by the tsunami, along with NGOs and FAO staff, reported on the progress to date with respect to the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector. Presentations were augmented by scientific reports on studies initiated to assist in the rehabilitation process. The focus of the majority of the presentations was on FAO funded initiatives. A synopsis of each of the country presentations, reports and FAO reports is presented below. Full reports are presented in Annex 2 of this document.


Significant progress has been achieved towards the rehabilitation of the agricultural sectors, details of which were presented by representatives of the Government of India and the Tamil Nadu Tsunami Resource Centre (TNTRC - a joint initiative of UN and international NGOs). The full reports by these representatives are presented in Annex 2.1 and 2.2. A synopsis of these reports is presented below.

The tsunami of 26 December 2004 caused extensive and significant devastation to communities in the island states of Andaman and Nicobar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The island states of Andaman and Nicobar were severely impacted by the tsunami. Due to their remoteness and limited logistical infrastructure, getting relief services to affected communities was a major challenge. The coastal agricultural sectors in all of the states incurred major damage and suffered significant crop losses that included losses of standing rice; destruction of vegetable and plantation crops; the destruction of aqua farms; and the loss of livestock. Due to the inundation of crop lands, soils were salinized, water sources contaminated and irrigation infrastructure destroyed. Large areas were permanently inundated by saline water that has affected the rate of rehabilitation and recovery.

The immediate response to the crisis by the Government of India and NGOs was to take care of the large number of displaced persons. Furthermore, extensive surveys were conducted by central and state government teams within the affected areas to quantify the impact of the tsunami on the agricultural sector. The outcome of these activities was the development of short- and long-term plans to restore the agricultural sector and livelihoods of thousands of displaced farmers. Monitoring of progress with respect to the implementation of the plans is being undertaken by the central and state governments. It is of note that initially several NGOs active in the rehabilitation programme did not view agriculture as an important sector in the overall recovery programme, notwithstanding its important role in the re-establishment of livelihoods for several coastal communities.

Immediate responses by both the Government and NGOs included the repair of dykes, spillways and irrigation canals; the analysis of soil samples to assess the extent of salinization; the clearing of debris from fields; scraping of surface salt from rice fields and plantation lands; the application of organic amendments to affected fields; the application gypsum to selected fields; the construction of check dams, ponds and the supply of pumps; the provision of farm implements and equipment to affected farmers; provision of emergency cash payouts to affected persons; the establishment of self-help groups within affected areas as a means of effecting the rehabilitation process; creation of awareness amongst farmers in the management of salinity; and the distribution of salt tolerant crop varieties.

The rehabilitation process has had a major impact in returning the agricultural sector to its previous level of productivity. Whilst this sector was initially neglected in the overall recovery process, it has become evident that the agricultural sector is critical to the livelihoods of numerous coastal communities. Subsequently focused efforts by NGOs and the government, coupled with natural leaching and flushing of salts facilitated by abnormally high post-tsunami rainfall in some of the eastern states (i.e. Tamil Nadu) of the mainland, have helped crop lands return to pre-tsunami production levels. Whilst there are no data that can be used to make comparisons between pre- and post-tsunami rice yields, the yields obtained post-tsunami are reasonable and clearly indicate a return to normality. The growing of crops such as sunhemp and sesbania have been shown to be effective green-manures that can assist in the rehabilitation of salt-affected lands along with traditional salt tolerant crop/vegetable varieties. Seeds of a number of varieties and crops have been distributed to affected farmers. Water sources are returning to normal in most cases and are suitable for human consumption and irrigation. The use of gypsum as a soil amendment should be targeted to specific situations where the reclamation process warrants the use of these materials to enhance structural stability of soils and to correct nutrient imbalances.

Whilst the rehabilitation and relief process has progressed at a realistic pace, there have been gaps that have been identified and lessons learnt by government agencies and NGOs. A major constraint immediately after the disaster was the procurement of sufficient quantities of quality seed and planting material to reestablish crops and plantation, the availability of appropriate varieties of seed and planting material suited to the prevailing soil conditions and, in the case of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the availability of local organic composts/manures and inorganic fertilizers. Poor road infrastructure affected transportation of relief supplies and impeded the rehabilitation process. In addition, the inadequate availability of suitable earth moving equipment to remove debris from affected fields as the first phase in the rehabilitation process and to assist in the construction of dykes, water storage structures and roads hindered progress. Problems of attracting suitably trained and experienced persons to go to the islands to assist in the rehabilitation process were experienced due to fear that further earthquakes and tsunamis would occur. In several cases the compensation package awarded to agriculturists was perceived as low and inappropriate and the assessment process for compensation was perceived to be non-rigorous and not scientifically based. The reason for this was that uniform input subsidies were prescribed. Lease farmers and farmers on temple lands were not eligible to receive these compensation packages. Farm lands that belonged to larger farmers were left untreated by NGOs leading to loss of livelihoods opportunities. The tribal plantation owners in Nicobar - a very close-knit community with strong democratic leadership - saw power shifts and conflicts occur in some villages. The Nicobarese are unable to maximize their returns from their plantation crops and are not open to new and innovative ways of managing plantation crops.

Some of the lessons learnt by the Government through the crisis include the following: sea frontage or areas immediately adjacent to the sea need to be protected from the impact of future waves or storm surges through the establishment of mangroves and other vegetation barriers; human activities along the sea frontage should be restricted to only notified areas; an ecological balance should be maintained within the coastal area that would temper the impacts of human activities; the development of artificial water bodies and other water reservoirs should be confined to areas away from sea frontage; there is a need for the development of an early warning system in order to avoid human causality and loss of property from future tsunami's and storm surges.

Further, the Tamil Nadu Tsunami Resource Centre (TNTRC) tabled the following lessons learnt from its experiences in the rehabilitation process:

Assessment of damage: A participatory needs assessment should be undertaken with the full involvement of farming communities before making decisions associated with the rehabilitation process. Parameters for assessment of damage that have been incurred and the proposed rehabilitation programmes need to be based on a transparent and scientific basis.

Variation in damages and intensity: The impact of the tsunami was not uniform throughout the affected areas. Differences in the extent of damages and the contrasting soil types that were affected call for different rehabilitation techniques and approaches. Hence a blanket approach should not be encouraged.

Technical expertise: Mixed messages regarding the rehabilitation process were often experienced by farmers. Operational guidelines for rehabilitation need to be in local languages and made simple.

Targeting and policy: The rehabilitation programmes need to focus on the farmer working on the land who may not always be the owner of the land. Programmes need to be gender sensitive and provide opportunities for women to earn an income. Policies/programmes need to consider the food security requirements of the farmers' families in order to ensure adequate dietary intake, enhanced health and reduced vulnerability.

Comprehensive approach: Since lands affected by the tsunami are contiguous, a comprehensive approach to reclamation from salinity should be undertaken that includes lands of larger farmers. Reclamation should be part of an integrated farming practice to include diversification, value addition, capacity building and linkages for more sustainable agriculture.

Need for coordination: In the context of several actors involved in rehabilitation, each with differing priorities, there is a possibility for gaps and overlaps. Geographical coordination, coupled with a consensual approach, helps to effect uniform reclamation.

Role of information collection, trends analysis and dissemination: There is a need for the collection of information, trends analysis and dissemination as a means of influencing stakeholders.

Focus on traditional wisdom: There is a need to integrate indigenous traditional wisdom and practices into the rehabilitation process and to adapt them to the current situation.

In addition, challenges specific to Tamil Nadu were identified by the TNTRC that will have to be addressed as the rehabilitation process moves forward. While these issues specifically pertain to experiences in Tamil Nadu, they can be viewed as generic to other areas and include the following:


Presentations were made by representatives of the Government and FAO. Full reports are presented in Annex 2.3 and 2.4.

The impact of the 26 December 2004 tsunami was felt in ten districts in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province and two districts in North Sumatra (Nias Islands). It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people were killed and injured and 400000 persons displaced. Of all the countries affected by the tsunami in the region, Indonesia bore the brunt of the devastation. In the agricultural sector, significant losses and negative impacts were incurred with respect to human resources, loss of land, livestock, office buildings, laboratories, housing complexes, and infrastructure. The estimated loss of productivity in the agriculture sector amounts to US$270 million with the quake and tsunami resulting in salinization and sedimentation of crop and plantation lands.

The recovery process in the agricultural sector is being undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture and has been termed the R3MAS (Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for the People of Aceh and North Sumatra), which will be executed over a five year period (2005-2009). The estimated budget required for this programme amounts to US$397.6 million. The programme consists of three main areas of focus:

The overall focus of the R3MAS programme is to develop the agricultural sector with a focus on addressing food security, the development of agribusiness, and enhancing the social welfare of farming communities. The R3MAS activities for the 2005-2006 that are currently being undertaken include the following:

To date progress has been made in meeting these targets with the establishment/rehabilitation of more than 36081 ha of crop, horticulture and plantation lands. Limited progress has been made in restoring the livestock sector.

Needless to say, the rehabilitation programme has been beset by challenges that include the lack of technical expertise in the reclamation and rehabilitation of saline affected soils. This has affected the rehabilitation process and is restricting the normalization of productivity levels that were achieved prior to the tsunami. Low farm incomes due to reduced productivity and poor commodity prices are having a significant impact on household income levels and the viability of farming enterprises. There is a low level of farmer motivation; insufficient agribusiness skills amongst farmers; and limited agricultural extension services due to a lack of manpower to deal with farmer demands. In general, farmer groups and organizations are poorly organized with limited institutional structure. Finally, there have been recent changes in the organizational structure with respect to executing agencies. In this respect the newly established Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Board (BRR) has taken over the role of coordination and execution of the agricultural sector from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The long-term R3MAS rehabilitation programme set to go beyond 2009, will focus on the rehabilitation of heavily affected paddy fields with an emphasis on the rebuilding of new paddy fields; the establishment of new farms to produce coconut and palm oil; the development of workshops for the servicing of agricultural machinery; the rebuilding of market facilities for livestock; the redevelopment of farmers organizations and extension workers; the redevelopment of agricultural education and training; the development of new suitable technologies appropriate for agro-industries; the development of market oriented activities through the establishment of agribusiness terminals; and establishing of business partners.

In the discussion that followed, clarification was made with respect to the role of the newly formed BRR and its mandate. Key roles of BRR are the development of rehabilitation programmes and the coordination and monitoring of the rehabilitation programme. In addition, it has the added responsibility of raising further funds to support the rehabilitation programme and, through the support of international partners, providing overall transparency with respect to the expenditure of these funds.

The key focus of the BRR is to restore the livelihoods of communities affected by the tsunami. In this respect the first stage in this process is attaining community agreement on the rehabilitation of livelihoods at the village level. As significant human resource capacity was lost from these communities, it has become a challenge for the rehabilitation effort to overcome this limitation. Added to this there is little funding being pledged towards the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector by donors.

There has been a need to build trust amongst communities, particularly in Aceh. With the establishment of new agricultural enterprises such as plantation cropping systems, significant training is required because there is generally a lack of expertise amongst farmers in this form of agriculture.

A comprehensive presentation on three FAO coordinated agricultural recovery projects implemented in Indonesia was presented. The overall objective of the projects was to assist the Indonesian Government's efforts to safeguard the livelihoods of the earthquake and tsunami affected coastal communities and to enable them to resume their occupations and produce food crops for nutrition and income. The assistance was meant to rapidly kick-start basic agricultural activities through the supply of urgent agricultural inputs and the rehabilitation of basic farm infrastructure, thereby reducing dependency on food aid for some of the most vulnerable farmers. The programme focused on the distribution of agricultural kits that included seeds, fertilizers and implements. In total, 23 000 farmers benefited from the distribution of seed. However, only 50 and 69 percent of the rice seed distributed was cultivated by the farmers in the east and west coast, respectively, due to the lateness in distribution. More than 15 500 farmers received vegetables and secondary crop seeds. In addition, estate crops were distributed to more than 5000 beneficiaries. The tsunami had a negative impact on these crops since they died due to salt toxicity. Twenty thousand farmers benefited from the distribution of agricultural machinery. The machines have been used in land preparation, watering and harvesting. However, the newly introduced paddy reaper used for harvesting is still relatively unfamiliar to farmers and is taking a greater than anticipated period for its adoption. Around 500 people have participated in a cash-for-work project for a total of 24 500 worker days.

To complement the distribution of seeds and fertilizer, FAO distributed motorized cultivators, including hand tractors and threshers to farmer groups. Some 147 community representatives were trained by FAO in the use and maintenance of the hand tractors. Thus, complementary projects helped increase the impact of the overall programme as some of the farmers were able to utilize the distributed seeds and fertilizer more efficiently through distribution of and training in farm equipment.

Constraints were experienced in the implementation of the projects. These constraints included the following:

There is a need to harmonize coordination between implementation agencies to avoid overlap of service provision, enhance the impact of these activities and improve the effectiveness of the rehabilitation process. Improved systems and mechanisms of coordination must be developed at the sub-district or village level to avoid overlapping of programmes or duplication of the same inputs.


The full presentations from the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources (MFAMR) and FAO Representative can be found in Annex 2.5 and 2.6. The tsunami which struck on 26 December 2004 had a dramatic and nation-wide impact. Thirty-nine islands were damaged and nearly a third of the population, or 100 000 people, were affected. Fourteen islands were completely destroyed and had to be evacuated. Approximately 12 000 people were displaced from their islands, and another 8 500 temporarily relocated within their home island. The water supply was disrupted in about 15 percent of the islands and 25 percent had major damage to the essential infrastructure such as jetties and harbours. Employment was adversely affected by low hotel occupancy rates and loss of assets in the fisheries, agricultural and other productive sectors. The relief and reconstruction effort encountered constraints of insufficient and untimely financing, inadequate human resource capacity (quantity and quality) and high costs and logistical difficulties of internal inter-island transport.

Agricultural and rural livelihoods were particularly hard hit by the tsunami. It was estimated that the tsunami damaged field crops in 2 100 farms; destroyed home gardens and agricultural tools in 11 700 homesteads; and damaged more than 700 000 fruit trees and 840 000 timber trees in inhabited islands. The damage to land and groundwater resources was severe in 35 agricultural islands, and saline water intrusion affected 112 inhabited islands. The geographical dispersion of the islands severely constrained the collection, collation and analysis of reliable data in a timely manner to inform the required immediate intervention responses of the Government and its supportive international development partners. The situation was further compounded by the lack of baseline data on the agricultural sector prior to the tsunami.

In an effort to rehabilitate the agricultural sector and provide assistance, eight major programmes were drafted, out of which three programmes are currently progressing with the aid of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Japan International Cooperation Systems (JICS). The programmes effectively focused on the replacement of basic production inputs to tsunami affected farmers and home gardeners; the strengthening of agricultural extension to facilitate the re-establishment of agriculture and horticulture; and the strengthening of agricultural institutional capacity. In addition, progress has been made in the establishment and re-instatement of markets through the opening of a market in the capital and further openings planned for regional goods' markets over the next two months. In the implementation of these programmes several constraints were encountered and included the following:

FAO responded swiftly and decisively to the crisis by immediately mounting a mission, coordinated by the Representation in Colombo, to assist MFAMR (Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources) in the initial agricultural and fisheries damage assessment surveys, thereby establishing a basis for determining the requirements for immediate support. Prior to the tsunami, FAO was not physically present in the Maldives.

The post-tsunami relief/recovery activities in the agricultural and forestry sectors were a key focus of FAO Maldives operations. The main activities include the provision of a package of technical assistance through short-term consultants/experts, capacity building for farmers and MFAMR staff effected through training workshops and the distribution of replacement packages of agricultural assets (start-up agricultural kits comprising a range of selected inputs: seeds, seedlings, cuttings, fertilizer, compost and assorted implements). To date, 3 376 farming families in 45 islands (13 atolls) have been assisted, 1 879 receiving the complete agricultural kit composed of 16 different items valued at US$260 per beneficiary. These included vegetable seeds, seedlings/cuttings, compost, organic manure, inorganic fertilizer and agricultural tools/implements (hoe, rake, shovel, sprayer, bush knife, watering can and wheel barrow); for the remaining 1 397 only the seedlings are pending. So far, 250 000 seedlings have been distributed. These distribution activities are continuing.

The period immediately after 26 December 2004 witnessed an explosion in the number of external development agencies in the country. This has severely stretched the limited human resources in public sector agencies in terms of their capacity for coordination and implementation. What may have been a manageable problem before the tsunami has turned into a crisis following the influx of significant financial resources and the multiplicity of external partners and activities within a constrained time period. MFAMR has found it difficult and challenging to cope satisfactorily with the sudden expansion and intensification of activity and especially with linking the emergency/relief response to its regular agricultural development work. Consequently, implementation of some approved donor-funded, post-tsunami relief activities got off to a slow start. The Ministry continues to look to FAO for assistance and support in strengthening planning, organizing and implementing capacity.

Furthermore, several key constraints associated with the relief effort have been identified both within the country and within FAO. These are as follows:

In-country: Significant in-country constraints impeded progress and extended timelines for implementation of the agricultural activities, thereby delaying responses to the needs of beneficiaries including inadequate human resources within MFAMR, especially outside the capital; deficiencies in database and planning; inadequate coordination systems as the MFAMR has had limited experience in coordinating so many activities and partners; complex logistics due to dispersed beneficiaries and islands which made organizing and maintaining distribution/delivery schedules difficult; high internal transport costs that significantly limited internal travel, field monitoring and eroded budgets; and distribution by sea over long distances due to inclement weather and vessels not designed to move plants.

FAO: From an institutional perspective, constraints were identified that impeded or delayed the delivery of emergency aid. These included unsuitable/inadequate procurement and administrative mechanisms for emergency operations; unpredictable delivery schedules of procured supplies which created difficulties in planning and organizing delivery to beneficiaries; insufficient delegation and cumbersome bureaucracy which led to costly delays; a lack of FAO in-country presence prior to the tsunami; lack of a coherent integrated organization-wide approach for dealing with emergencies; inability to access locally available funds; and potential difficulties in maintaining effective in-country partnerships from Sri Lanka.

FAO relief to affected communities is considered a precursor to more sustainable agricultural and rural development. The FAO Emergency Rehabilitation and Coordination Unit (ERCU) Maldives, using the relief activities as a point of departure, has been catalytic in managing and implementing in-country FAO development assistance in a coordinated and integrated manner.


The tsunami had a limited impact and was confined to areas of the Myanmar coastal zone. The most severely affected townships in Myanmar were: Labutta and Ngaputaw Townships in Ayeyarwaddy Division, Kawthaung Township in Tanintharyi Division, and Kyaukphyu Township in Rakhine State. The Pyinsalu sub-township of Labutta Township was the worst affected area with 25 people losing their lives, more than one thousand people left homeless and 289 houses totally destroyed. Four villages, namely Khar Pyat Thaung, Lay Yin Kwin, Kaingthaung and Aung Hlaing in the Pyinsalu sub-township were severely affected.

As part of the rehabilitation effort a project (MYA/05/001) that addressed fishing communities, fisher-farmers and homestead gardeners was launched and implemented in accordance with the Letter of Agreement that was signed by FAO with UNDP. The main goal of the project was to provide necessary assistance so as to resume the livelihoods of tsunami affected fishers and farmers with a focus on both the immediate and long-term. The project was designed to support small-scale fishers and farmers living in the worst affected tsunami areas of Pyinsalu Sub-township in Labutta Township, Ayeyarwaddy Division. Farmers who lost their crops, livestock assets and home gardens to the tsunami were provided with fertilizers, HYV seeds, OPV seeds of various crops including paddy, pulses (peas and beans), oilseed crops (sunflower) and different kinds of vegetable seeds (gourd, melon, squash, watercress, roselle, chilies, tomato, egg plants). Agricultural hand tools comprising sickles, hoes, machetes, shovels and spades were also provided. A detailed breakdown of the aid distributed to both farmers and fisher beneficiaries is presented in Annex 2.7. In addition, training activities that included home gardening and harvest management; field crop production and management technology; crop protection; and salinity mitigation approaches were undertaken. A total of 516 participants were trained.

During the implementation of the project the constraints encountered included the following:

Specific lessons learnt pertaining to agriculture include the following:

Sri Lanka

Four presentations were made by representatives from Sri Lanka that included an overview of the assistance coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, progress with respect to rehabilitation activities in the northeast of the country, FAO programmes and an overview of the recently formed Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) whose mandate is to carry out reconstruction and development work in districts affected by man-made or natural disasters. Presentations can be found in Annex 2.8-2.11.

It is widely acknowledged that the tsunami is the most devastating natural catastrophe in the history of the country with the poorest sectors of the community being impacted upon that necessitated the mobilization of external support to assist in the recovery process. Within the agricultural sector 7 843 families were affected by the tsunami with 3 646 ha of paddy and a further 488 ha of food crops/vegetables destroyed. More importantly, from a livelihoods and household food security perspective 27 710 home gardens were destroyed with significant loss to livestock. Land and groundwater bodies were affected by salinity and a number of water storage facilities lost.

The first priority of the relief effort led by the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO and NGOs focused on supporting farmers to resume their livelihoods. Activities in this respect included the provision of conductivity and pH metres to monitor the degree of salinization in soils and waters; the distribution of seeds and fertilizers to farmers; establishment of vegetable, fruit and ornamental nurseries at the community level; distribution of hand tools and water pumps; the allocation of livestock to farmers that included poultry, cattle and goats; monitoring and rehabilitation of land affected by salt; and training workshops on improved farming techniques; animal husbandry; and food processing techniques and nutrition. A total of 13 298 individuals benefited from the distribution of paddy, vegetable seeds and orchard seedlings over the Yala and Maha seasons since the tsunami. In addition, 2 044 individuals benefited from the allocation of cattle, goats and poultry with the highest number of beneficiaries being in the Trincomalee district. Further, a total of 14 420 individuals received training in improved farming techniques, animal husbandry and food processing and nutrition. In addition to the Government's common recovery package, funds have been provided to farmers for land preparation and loans provided to self-employed farmers to enable them to restart their enterprises. Seedlings (i.e. coconuts) and animals have been distributed to farmers (i.e. cattle and goats) in some of the badly affected districts.

In addition to the distribution of aid to beneficiaries, the FAO programme has been responsible for the successful introduction of salt tolerant varieties of paddy to salt-affected areas as an interim stage in the rehabilitation of these production systems; the introduction of improved agricultural practices; achievement of high crop yields even in the presence of elevated saline levels; promotion of water savings technologies; support to post-harvest technology; improved nutrition practices; introducing various approaches for the management of salinity issues; strengthening of laboratory facilities with respect to salinity assessment and monitoring; and the establishment of coordination mechanisms with other organizations and, of greatest importance, the return of farmers back to their lands. Constraints were identified that negatively impacted on the implementation process and included the lack of available labour and access to mechanization which constrained the return of lands back to full-scale production; low profit margins common to agriculture which acted as a disincentive to individuals in resuming agricultural livelihoods; limited access to markets; the lack of timely delivery of inputs; logistic issues associated with the movement of aid to the Jaffna Peninsula; cumbersome administration procedures; and the overall security situation in the country.

With respect to future recommendations for the island as a whole, there is a need to establish an early warning system and to undertake an awareness campaign that targets communities that are most vulnerable to such disasters. The campaign should focus on training communities in disaster awareness and steps to avoid/mitigate potential negative impacts associated with such disasters. The creation of buffer zones within beach areas through the establishment of shelter belts, thereby reducing the negative impact of waves, was deemed to be important although the concept has been considered controversial. Issues associated with land tenure and access to these zones has resulted in resistance to their establishment. A cautious approach should be taken and consultation with all actors needs to be undertaken as the establishment of these zones will have an impact on the livelihoods of those who are dependent on these areas. Farmers should be encouraged to grow salt tolerant crop varieties in coastal regions wherever this is feasible. Finally, proper and effective drainage networks should be maintained to allow seawater to immediately drain from fields.

In the northeast of Sri Lanka a significant area of crop land was completely destroyed with approximately 2000 homesteads with crop gardens washed away . In terms of livestock losses, the overall damage was not significant at the provincial level. A number of activities and initiatives have been undertaken and implemented in the northeast to restore the agricultural sector. These initiatives include:

Some of the lessons learnt are the following: the degree of soil salinization is contingent on the period of inundation; dug wells remain saline even after the soil has been flushed of salts; land productivity as indicative of crop production has increased by 75 percent, but has still not reached the levels of productivity that were achieved prior to the tsunami; and the cultivation of sunhemp and its incorporation into the soil as a green manure has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing salinity. In addition, the application of large quantities of organic matter has been demonstrated to improve the productivity of saline affected soils that has occurred.

In the northeast, constraints in the recovery process have been encountered. There has, in general, been little participation by people in community action activities; a reluctance to resettle away from ones domicile; delays in infrastructure rehabilitation; and problems with land adjudication and titling. Moreover, service institutions in the affected areas have not been adequately re-equipped to provide the required level of service to clients. There has been a general lack of coordination and transparency that has hindered the rehabilitation process. There is disinterest in crop diversification to species that are more salt tolerant and adapted to the prevailing environment.

The immediate recovery programmes in the northeast focused on helping affected families to regain their livelihoods through the provision of micro-credit facilities based on a "community-based revolving fund" mechanism. The rehabilitation of damaged structures and agriculture/livestock services has in general been inadequately addressed. By addressing these aspects in the rehabilitation process one could reduce adverse environmental impacts and also provide immediate employment opportunities in affected villages. It is important when undertaking farmer capacity building activities in soil reclamation and productivity improvement that this should be implemented in a participatory manner. As one moves beyond the initial phase of the rehabilitation process, the recovery strategy should focus on medium- and long-term needs of the victims. This will require enhanced and meaningful consultation with local affected communities and stakeholders. Local communities should be empowered to make their own decisions in the recovery process. The principle of subsidization should be applied in rehabilitation interventions.

The Government of Sri Lanka, having evaluated the relatively slow progress of recovery, decided that improvements needed to be made in the delivery, progress and quality of the interventions provided by a wide range of service providers, ranging from national government departments to international and local development agencies. To this effect the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) was established in November 2005 by a directive of His Excellency the President through the merging of the Taskforce For Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) with other agencies. The mandate of RADA is to carry out reconstruction and development work in districts affected by man-made or natural disasters in a cost effective and expeditious manner. More specifically, the mission of RADA is to accelerate and coordinate the reconstruction and the development of areas affected by man-made and natural disasters and ensure sustainable recovery of properties, livelihoods, industries and infrastructure to mitigate the effect of such disasters in the future.

RADA consists of four major programmes that cover housing, social infrastructure, physical infrastructure and livelihoods, and also supports the following supporting divisions: management and IT support; aid coordination and monitoring; operations and regional support; strategic planning and policy; and communication/public relations. The Livelihood Unit of RADA has developed the Income Recovery Programme (IRP), with the assistance of the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This is also known as the "Back to Work" component of a wider strategy of the Government to "Build Back Better". A full discussion and detailed account of the Income Recovery Programme is presented in Annex 2.11.


Two presentations were made by representatives from Thailand (Annex 2.12 and 2.13). The effects of the tsunami in Thailand were confined to coastal communities along the Andaman Sea. A total of 5 800 people died with 2 900 declared missing; 3 600 houses were destroyed and 412 communities were affected. The worst affected Province was Phang-Nga where 4225 people lost their lives and 4 394 households were affected by the disaster. Within the Province 957 ha of agricultural land was lost and 412 farmers were affected. Along with this, livestock were destroyed and natural resources (i.e. mangroves, beaches, corals and fresh water) were all negatively impacted upon. The Royal Thai Government's response with respect to farmers was to compensate farmers with a one-off cash payment equivalent to 10 percent of their production costs. In addition, external agencies such as FAO provided coconut, oil palm and cashew nut seedlings for the establishment of 94 ha. Similarly, gypsum, inorganic and organic fertilizers and vegetable seeds were supplied to farmers for rehabilitation purposes and the establishment of crops. Selected farmers were provided with inexpensive vegetable hydroponic kits and associated training. Land and houses were provided to 152 farmer families and various alternative career options were promoted.

Overall, there was a strong willingness to cooperate with national and international organizations in providing humanitarian aid to affected communities. However, with the many actors involved in the relief effort there were problems with coordination of the relief efforts, particularly at the local government level; a mismatch in aid, with the real needs of individuals and communities often being overlooked; and a dependency of people on the aid provided. A key element in moving forward is the promotion of diversified production systems along with the establishment of markets.

The second presentation focused on the outcomes of a research project on the assessment of agricultural damage associated with the tsunami (Annex 2.13). A classification system was developed of tsunami affected land based on high resolution satellite imageries and aerial photos; and attributes including present land use, type and extent of damage, salinity level, soil texture, and water table depth were developed. Sedimentation was a significant factor in the damage afflicting agricultural lands. Using a weighed scoring index based on the importance of the aforementioned attributes, affected fields were classified into zones and guidelines for the proposed rehabilitation of these lands. Findings from this study have also indicated that most of the areas affected by salinity have decreased considerably compared to the initial assessment made immediately after the event. GIS based maps of the damaged areas along the Thailand coast have been produced and are being used to target rehabilitation efforts.

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