GHG samples ready to be analysed by gas chromatograph equipment.
It was busier than usual at the rice field of Thavorn Khampang, the village headman in Suphan Buri province. Officers from the Thai Rice Science Institute (TRSI) were all over the rice field performing greenhouse gas measurements using manually operated closed chambers.
What makes the headman Thavorn’s rice paddy special are the white boxes installed at each corner of the field. These boxes are noticeable to bystanders and are used for collecting greenhouse gas fluxes in the rice field.
The “Love the Earth” paddy field which belongs to the headman Thavorn was one of the locations visited by experts and staff from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) along with officials from the Thai Rice Department during a series of field trips to observe greenhouse gas measurement activities in September and December.
The Thai-German Climate Programme – Agriculture (TGCP-Agriculture) project is working with the Thai Rice NAMA and the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA II) projects to support the assessment of mitigation and adaptation potential of the agricultural sector, focusing on the development of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for the rice sector.
Headman Thavorn’s paddy field is one of the demonstration plots in the Thai Rice NAMA project. With the assistance of provincial rice research centres, farmers adopt the four low-emission technologies for their demonstration plots, namely alternate wetting and drying (AWD), laser land-levelling (LLL), site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) and straw/stubble management (SSM). These practices not only help to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve rice production yields.
In 2020, TGCP-Agriculture in collaboration with Thai Rice NAMA and BRIA II projects conducted greenhouse gas measurement in the Central Plains (Chai Natt, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Suphan Buri, Angthong, Sing Buri) and in the Northeast (Ubon Ratchathani). During the field observation trips, officers collected gas samples from demonstration plots using closed chambers. Gas samples collected from the paddy fields will be analysed by gas chromatograph (GC) equipment in the laboratory at provincial rice research centres. Currently, the GC equipment is available at four locations – three provincial rice research centres in Prachin Buri, Chai Nat, and Ubon Ratchathani, and one Rice Science Institute (TRSI) in Suphan Buri.
Following the field visit, Dr. Reiner Wassmann and Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot, Consultants from IRRI, and Dr. Thomas Jaekel, CIM Expert of GIZ held a Q & A session to share experiences from mitigation technique implementation with officers from provincial rice research centres.
From their experiences in applying the AWD method, officers saw improvements in rice growing, observed that the plants are stronger and more resistant to disease and there were fewer problems from pests and rats. Despite the drawback of a high cost in using the LLL technology, farmers see benefits in applying it as it improves the effectiveness of water control, saves the cost of pumping water and reduces weed and pest problems in the paddy field.
At the end of the brainstorming session, the action plan and solutions to problems faced during the field activities were agreed by representatives from GIZ, IRRI, and the Rice Department.
“The results of the ‘Love the Earth’ demonstration plots show that sustainable rice cultivation not only helps improve climate resilience by reducing greenhouse gas emissions which in turn helps global climate change efforts but also increases rice production which ultimately results in the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods,” noted Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot, the consultant from IRRI.
TRSI Officers collect greenhouse gas influxes using manually operated closed chambers from the demonstration plot.
During a meeting with TRSI officers and local farmers, Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot (centre), a national consultant from IRRI, shared her experiences and exchanged views with participants on how to solve problems that arise during the field activities.