Climate awareness is there. But, what is next for Thailand’s Agriculture Sector?

A recent cooperation workshop on awareness raising among relevant governmental departments’ officials summarised seven key points on the mitigation potentials of Thailand’s agriculture sector as following.

  • Awareness on climate change actions of the agriculture sector is not in a low level.
  • There are still existing gaps in term of timeframe and also data inputs which are needed in the further study.
  • The important question is “what the next steps of the proposed mitigation options are”. Those options need some actions to put them into policy and adoption processes which have to also align with other contexts and other influence.
  • Implementation of the mitigation options needs to include mechanism to produce motivations and incentives which will encourage behavioral change and increase adoption rate of the mitigation actions.
  • The agriculture sector needs the coordination mechanisms which should include both public and private parties because the climate change plans need a wide range of participation and holistic actions.
  • Information exchange mechanisms which include opinion exchange platforms and the development of database system are necessary.
  • Capacity building for staff is one aspect which would effectively create readiness of the departments and the agriculture sector as a whole for planning and implementing processes of the climate change actions.
(Left) Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich, Climate Change Management and Coordination Division’s Director, of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning

“The Climate Change Master Plan 2015-2050 addresses Thailand’s intention to reduce GHG emission by 20-25% within 2030, which was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the form of Thailand’s Intended National Determined Contribution in 2015. In fulfilling the plan, the National Climate Change Committee is working on mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation actions into national policy of all ministries which would have effects on both ministerial and local levels,” said Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich, Climate Change Management and Coordination Division’s Director, of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning during his opening speech.

.“What is inevitable for us is that in the future, climate change will become as a new normal. It is therefore necessary for us to be resilient to the change and prudently adapt to such circumstances,” said Mrs. Pakapan Soralam, Natural Resource Economics Deputy Specialist, of the Office of Agricultural Economics during her opening speech.

The workshop was co-organized by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning and the Office of Agricultural Economics with the support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on 13 June 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand and served as an information exchange platform for representatives from different institutions as well as private sector.

Result and recommendation of study on “Potential GHG emission Baseline on Agriculture Sector”, conducted by Assistant Professor Dr. Witsanu Attvanich and Associate Professor Dr. Patthra Pengthamkeerati, from the Department of Economics and the Department of Environment, Kasetsart University, was also presented at the workshop. The main objectives of this study are to analyze the GHG mitigation potential of the agriculture sector and to support the integration of this mitigation potential study into the existing studies for the previous three sectors (i.e. energy, transportation and waste and industrial processes and product use).

According to the presentation, it is necessary for farmers to adopt greenhouse mitigation practices, such as the alternative wetting and drying in rice cultivation, manure management, site-specific nutrient management, crop residue management and better feed quality for livestock. These are the priority five out of twenty-six greenhouse gas mitigation options from the study.

Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Agriculture Cluster Deputy Coordinator, of GIZ

“One major challenge of the agriculture sector is the maintenance of co-benefits between market benefits and benefits from climate change management. Cooperation between different sectors, different departments and different organizations is, therefore, important in meeting the Nationally Determined Contributions requirements,” said Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Agriculture Cluster Deputy Coordinator, of GIZ, said during his opening speech.

In this workshop on Mitigation Potentials of Thailand’s Agriculture Sector, over 80 participants from 25 institutions under Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and other relevant offices such as the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Agricultural Research Development Agency, and Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation participated.

Before leaving the workshop, the 82 participants were asked to indicate their opinions on readiness of the agriculture on climate change actions in terms of Policy, Database, Budget, Knowledge, and Institutional set-up.

As a result, for examples, overall readiness of the agriculture was scaled as “Moderate”. The supporting policy on climate change is considered as relatively “High”. For capacity building, this remains importantly required but may need to pay more attention to officials at working level (i.e. who responsible for data collection, and transferring knowledge to farmers) as the supporting policy seems to be sufficient.

This workshop was the first-step to prepare the Thai agriculture sector to be ready for contributing to Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contributions. All data and information as well as feedbacks gathered from the workshop will be taken into consideration in the development of “Action Plan”. In the near future, more stakeholder consultation meetings and workshops will be organized in order to jointly discuss and agree on climate change action plan with an effective collaboration mechanism driving the climate change Action Plan.

“Thai-German Climate Programme in Agriculture Component (TGCP-Agriculture), one of our climate change projects, supports and is working on strengthening potentials of the national agriculture sector. Another project, called “Thai Rice NAMA”, opens a cooperation, in which Thailand is in an important position, for the concrete climate change implementation.

Our ambition is to support in making the agriculture sector which emits lower GHG, supports well-being of farmers and efficiently provides markets to agricultural producers,” said Suriyan of GIZ.

 

by Patcharin Sae-heng, Thai-German Climate Programme-Agriculture