Writer: Agriculture and Food Cluster Team
Is Climate Change real? Dr. Chitnucha Buddabon, Director of Rice Research Center in Ubonratchani Province reaffirmed the fact that the weather in Thailand has changed and temperature has increased. He stated that one increase in temperature will reduce rice production by 10%.
Rice plays an important role in Thailand as the main commodity for the nation’s agriculture exports and a major staple food for the Thai population. However, rice farming is the second most significant cause of climate change in Thailand, accounting for 54.72% of carbon dioxide emissions and second only to the energy sector.
The Rice Department and theThai-German Climate Programme organized a panel list discussion on “Raising on Climate Change on related in Agriculture”with 260 local government officers and farmers at the Krungsri River Hotel, Ayutthaya province on October 30, 2018.
Nine specialists in related areas; climate change, rice sector and millers were invited to the panel discussion on how climate impacts rice farming. Dr. Apichart Pongsrihadulchai, advisor to the Director-General of the Rice Department informed the meeting that while Thailand was the worlds biggest rice exporter for 31 years, India and China have now become the largest exporters of rice. “If we combine the agriculture sector in China, India, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, it produces half the worlds rice production.” Said Dr. Apichart.
How does climate change impact Thai rice farmers?
The specialists answered this question, stating that rice production emitted methane that increases climate change in the country. This will impact farmers’ rice crops because climate change leads to droughts and flooding. In the rainy season, rice field could be flooded and crops may be infected by disease and insect infestation. If there is a drought, rice will not grow productively. As a result, farmers will get low quality rice and be unable to sell to rice millers. This fact is confirmed by Mr. Pramote Wanitchanon, a representative of Miller Association “If farmers offer us with low rice production, they will receive a lower payment of rice production. If the heat higher than 37 degree, the cost of rice will be low payment and the temperature is lower than 15 degree, the cost also will be low too.” Said Mr. Pramote.
To mitigate the impact from climate change to farmers, Atthawit Watcharapongchai, a Senior Project Manager from GIZ introduced the four methods to help farmers protect and improve their rice production including, using Leveling the land using laser technology, Alternative Wetting and Drying (AWD), Nutrient Management and Straw and stubble management. “Farmers will spend less money and gain more yields with better quality rice. Plus, it is environmentally friendly. We are partnership with Olam and the MARs companies to support farmers with market linkages to ensure that farmers have markets sell their rice. This supply chain will be sustainable not only for farmers but also for consumers and the country.” Said Atthawit.
Boonyarit Homchan has been farming for 20 years using now the four methodologies for his rice production and found a successful result by using the methods of his rice yield
I could save my money for the rice investment cost, I use less water, time and process. I use less chemical pesticide and it is good for me and my family. We could save the world by doing the four methodologies. We gain more income and have a happy life.” Said Boonyarit.