A foreign journalist takes a photo of rice farmers clearing weeds in Chainat province, Thailand for a news report on greenhouse gas reduction technologies in rice farming to save farmers’ production costs.
Fifty-nine-year-old Thai farmer Cheleo Noisang recently confirmed to a foreign journalist that greenhouse gas reduction technologies in rice farming introduced by the Chainat Rice Research Center are helping him save production costs.
“I spend less on the diesel for pumping water, seed use, fertiliser use, and water use. My rice is also growing better and is healthier,” said the farmer from Chainat, a major rice-growing province in Central Thailand.
The pilot technologies include alternate wetting and drying and laser land leveling. Alternate wetting and drying (AWD) is a management practice in irrigated lowland rice that saves water and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while maintaining yields. Laser land leveling (LLL) is a laser-guided technology used to level fields by removing soil from high points of the field and depositing it in low points.
The Chainat Rice Research Center has been implementing the pilot mitigation technology project using AWD and LLL with 40 farmers over a rice farming area of about 480 rai or 78.6 hectares. The Center aims to apply the ‘farmers to farmers’ training approach to scale up the pilot to other farmers, and this will be supported by the Thai Rice Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) project.
The Thai Rice NAMA project aims to reach 100,000 rice farming households in Thailand in shifting from conventional to low-emission farming. The project will work with farmers and farmers’ associations as well as service providers in adapting these mitigation farming practices and develop incentive schemes including financial support.
Pilot rice field that uses alternate wetting and drying and laser land leveling for climate change impact reduction.
Agriculture is the second largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sector in Thailand after energy, with rice production responsible for almost 60 per cent of emissions from agricultural activities. Thailand is the 4th largest emitter globally of rice-related GHGs – mainly methane.
Ruedeeporn Thepsri, a 53-year-old farmer in Chainat, said she hoped to use these new technologies on her farm. “I have seen rice growing better in other rice farms that use alternate wetting and drying and laser land leveling. I have prepared my land for the next cropping season and would like to do the same,” she said.
The foreign journalist also visited the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) headquarters in Bangkok to explore how the project’s financial mechanism will contribute to transforming the sector into sustainable and low-carbon rice farming.
Mr. Morakot Pitharat, a Senior Executive Vice President of BAAC, explained the two finance mechanisms: a Revolving Fund (RF) for farmers to invest in low-emission production without increasing their debt, and to reduce the market entry risk for service providers; and a subsidised loan programme supporting investments in machinery by service providers.
The RF is supported by NAMA grant funds while the loan programme is an existing scheme of BAAC called the “Green Credit Programme”. It will finance farmers to receive LLL services upfront and then pay for these services in arrears over a period of time. Service providers will be paid through the RF for LLL on behalf of farmers, and receive access to BAAC’s green credit programme to make initial investments in mitigation technologies, he said. “This model has the potential for application to other crops in the agriculture sector, which will contribute to the country’s low-carbon economy,” he added.
The foreign correspondent recently visited Thailand’s central province, Chainat, to research his articles on the results of the new GHG mitigation technologies in rice farming, the farmers’ willingness to change, and how the financial mechanism will transform the agriculture sector into sustainable and low-carbon rice farming.
The story will be published in the NAMA Facility’s 6th anniversary report which will be launched at the 24th formal meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) in Katowice, Poland, from 2 – 14 December 2018.
Thai Rice NAMA is funded by the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Facility, a multi-donor climate finance facility.