Thai Rice NAMA officially introduced the Half-Half co-payment scheme to provide farmers and agripreneurs with financial support for land preparation and laser land levelling (LLL) services that are essential to implementing climate-smart rice farming.
Mr. Natthakit Khongthip, Director-General of the Rice Department in his capacity as committee member and secretary of Thai Rice NAMA Project Steering Committee, recently announced the Half-Half co-payment scheme for Thai rice farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in the six pilot provinces of Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, and Suphanburi.
Rice farmers living in these areas are eligible to apply for ‘Package 1’ of the scheme. Following approval, they will receive 50% subsidy support along with 50% pre-finance, to a maximum of 2,000 baht per rai in total for Land Preparation and Laser Land Leveling (LLL) services in rice fields, he said.
Agriprenuers interested in becoming LLL service providers can apply for the so-called ‘Pro 2’ package including free training programmes organised by the project and eligibility to apply for the new financial measures for service providers to purchase the LLL equipment set. This financial measure will offer subsidies of up to 50% on each set price but not exceeding 200,000 baht per person.
“The Half-Half co-payment scheme will enable rice farmers smallholders and agriculture entrepreneurs, regarded as key to driving the Thai rice sector, to increase their productivity and farming management efficiency, while accessing technology and innovation crucial for climate-smart farming,” Mr. Natthakit said.
Chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, funded by NAMA Facility, and mainly supported by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the Rice Department and GIZ, Thai Rice NAMA Project aims to encourage local smallholder farmers to implement low-emission rice farming and make mitigation services and technologies accessible to farmers. The aim is to transform the rice sector into low-emission production with 100,000 farmer households expected to benefit from the project via the ‘3 Increases, 3 Decreases’ campaign. Rice smallholders and agriprenuers are encouraged to adopt farming techniques and innovation in a bid to increase rice yields, rice quality and revenue while decreasing production costs, water consumption and ultimately greenhouse gas emissions to improve quality of life and livelihoods while preserving the environment vulnerable to global warming.
Rice is important as it is cultivated on roughly half of all agricultural land in Thailand and accounts for nearly 55% of emissions from agriculture. Thailand is the world’s fourth-largest emitter of rice-related greenhouse gas. In irrigated rice production, flooding of paddy fields leads to significant emissions of methane, which has a global warming potential 28 times higher than carbon dioxide. The lack of incentives available to farmers is also preventing a transition to low-emission rice production practices, said Mr. Ole Henriksen, project director.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pongphun Jongrak, Executive Vice President, and the management team of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), as Thai Rice NAMA Project’s grant manager, held a meeting in Suphanburi province to seek ways to drive forward the Half-Half co-payment scheme in the six targeted provinces. They also visited farmers and LLL demonstration sites of the project in Suphanburi province to further explore the climate-smart rice farming practices including LLL technique, Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM), Straw and Stubble Management (SSM), and Integrated Pest Management.
The Half-Half co-payment scheme will be valid only until November 2022. Farmers and agricultural service providers can contact the GIZ Office, the Rice Research Center, the Rice Seed Centre, the Thai Rice Science Institute, and District Agricultural Extension Offices in the six pilot provinces to apply to the programme.
More information about eligibility criteria and guidelines for rice farmers and those interested in becoming service providers under Thai Rice NAMA, or who want to download the application can do so via the following links and QR Codes.