Despite the declining ratio of agriculture to the gross national product, more than half of the population in Thailand is engaged in agriculture, where incomes are relatively low. Agriculture remains one of the key sectors in the country’s economic and social development and is also the source of raw materials for various downstream industries. Within the country, the agricultural sector is most vulnerable to climate change impact, since most farmers are small landholders in rainfed areas. The shift from annual field crops to permanent trees in recent years further limits the flexibility of changing the cropping system, and hence creates more vulnerability. Due to fluctuations in the natural supply of rainwater and limited storage capacities, rainfed and irrigated agriculture could be affected negatively in the future. Variability in precipitation is a key driver of droughts and floods across Thailand. Climate change has given rise to seasonal shifts in weather patterns, as well as an increase in the risk of damage to agricultural crops and food production. Early studies on the impact of climate change on rice and maize yields, using different models in selected areas, found that crop yields varied substantially. In addition to the climate, other causes of risks to farmers are changes in agricultural land use, land degradation and infertile land. More than half of all agricultural land in Thailand have saline, sandy, shallow or acidic soils. These areas have low productivity and have restricted ability to adapt to climate changes.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.