Farmers pay less with greenhouse gas reduction farming method, journalist witnesses

Fifty-nine-year-old farmer Cheleo Noisang of Thailand recently confirmed to a foreign correspondent that greenhouse gas reduction technologies in rice farming introduced by Chainat Rice Research Center help him save production costs.

“I spend less on the diesel for pumping water, seed use, fertilizer use, and water use. Rice is also growing better and having better health,” said the farmer from Chainat, the rice province in Central Thailand.

Pilot rice field that uses alternate wetting and drying and laser land leveling for climate change impact reduction.

The pilot technologies include the 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 of the field.

The Chainat Rice Research Center has conducted the mitigation technology pilot on AWD and LLL with 40 farmers consisting rice farming area of about 480 rai or 78.6 hectares. The Center aims to apply ‘farmers to farmers’ training approach to scale up the pilot to other farmers which will be supported by the Thai Rice Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) project.

The Thai Rice NAMA project aims to outreach to 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.

The project is funded by the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Facility, a multi-donor climate finance facility.

Agriculture is the second largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sector in Thailand after energy, with rice production responsible for almost 60 percent 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 the new GHG reduction technologies in her rice farm.

I have seen rice growing better in other rice farms that use alternate wetting and drying and laser land leveling. And, 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) headquarter in Bangkok to explore how the project’s financial mechanism will contribute to transforming the sector towards sustainable and low-carbon rice farming.

A foreign journalist takes a photo of rice famers while removing weeds during his field visit in Chainat province, Thailand for a news report on greenhouse gas reduction technologies in rice farming to save farmers’ production costs.

Mr. Morakot Pitharat, a Senior Executive Vice President of BAAC, stated that there are two finance mechanisms which are a Revolving Fund (RF) for farmers to invest in low-emission production without further increasing their debt, and to reduce the market entry risk for service providers, and a subsidized loan programme supporting investments in machinery by service providers.

The RF is supported by NAMA grant funds whereby the loan programme is an existing scheme of BAAC called “Green Credit Programme.”

The RF 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.

He furthered that “this model has the potential in applying to other crops in the agriculture sector which will contribute to low-carbon economy of the country.”

The foreign correspondent recently visited Thailand’s central province, Chainat, to research for his articles on 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 towards 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 to 14 December 2018.

Find out more about NAMA Facility at http://www.nama-facility.org and Thai Rice NAMA at http://www.nama-facility.org/projects/thai-rice-nama/

Learn more about AWD at http://irri.org/resources/publications/brochures/overview-of-awd and LLL at http://ghgmitigation.irri.org/technologies/laser-land-leveling