Farmers and government officials from Northeastern Thailand actively participated in the climate change awareness event held in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Kriangkrai Chanpheng encouraged his fellow farmers to shift towards low-emission rice production to fight against global warming during the second awareness-raising event of the Thai German Climate Programme (TGCP) – Agriculture project.
Speaking to about 300 farmers and government officials in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, Thailand, Mr. Kriangkrai said it was time for Thai rice farmers to be more responsible and take climate action.
“First of all, we (farmers) need to realise how great the danger of climate change is. We grow rice. We depend on nature. We have to care more about environment,” the 60-year-old farmer said.
Mr. Kriangkrai is a former businessman turned rice grower from northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani. A participating farmer in the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) project since its first phase in 2017, he was invited as a guest speaker during a panel discussion entitled: “Rice Production Development under Climate Change” at the event held on 14 December 2018 in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
He levelled his land in Warin Chamrap district by using a laser leveler as suggested by trainers of the BRIA project four years ago to overcome poor-quality rice and time-consuming procedures. He found that this technology not only smoothes the soil surface, but also brings about moisture environment for crops. Using laser land levelling with the dry-direct seeding method and control of soil fertility has led to a 40 percent increase in his crop yields.
On the land that has been leveled, water is distributed evenly which helps reduce the amount of time and volume of water needed for the rice plantation. Fertiliser is used more efficiently as nutrient runoff from high level to low level is less. Less time spent on the irrigation means less energy is spent. Thus, laser land leveling is one such proven mitigation technology.
Additionally, to cut greenhouse gas emissions, he pointed out that farmers can take on climate change through simple actions. For example, stop burning off straw and rice stubble.
“Farmers must know that we can reduce global warming,” he said, adding that Thai farmers have experienced extreme weather more frequently in recent years.
The panelists from different sectors shared their experiences in dealing with behavioural change in cultivating rice to reduce global warming.
During the panel discussion, Narawadee Modenuch from Olam International, a leading agri-business operating in 70 countries, shed light on trends in the global rice consumption. “Besides good taste and cheap prices, global consumers have started to care about food safety and whether or not the cultivation is environmentally friendly,” Ms. Narawadee told the audience.
Suriyan Vichitlekarn, GIZ’s deputy cluster coordinator for agriculture and food reassured participants of continued support from the German government and stressed that GIZ will continue working as a facilitator to guarantee fair prices and access to mitigation technology for farmers.
This second awareness-raising event of the Thai German Climate Programme (TGCP) – Agriculture project was jointly supported by Thai Rice Department and German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) implemented by GIZ. The first event was held in Ayutthaya province in October 2018.