Thai Rice NAMA introduces financial packages to support farmers’ access to climate-smart rice farming

Agriculture and Food Cluster

The Thai Rice Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions or Thai Rice NAMA project under the Rice Department, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is stepping forward to provide financial support packages to farmers and agripreneurs to access land preparation, laser land levelling (LLL) services and stubble management essential for climate-smart rice farming in Thailand.

From left to right: Reinhold Elges, Country Director, GIZ Thailand and Malaysia, Krit Uttamavetin, Deputy Director General, Thai Rice Department, Wisit Srisuwan, Director in General of Cooperative Promotion Department as the Board of Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) Pongphun Jongrak, Executive Vice President of BAAC at the agreement signing ceremony

Representatives from the three agencies signed a grant agreement at Pathum Thani Rice Research Centre, Lam Luk Ka District, Pathum Thani Province to collaboratively implement the Half-Half co-payment scheme to make mitigation services and low-emission rice farming technologies accessible to Thai farmers and agripreneurs.

Low-emission rice farming demonstration plot implemented by Pathumthani Rice Research Centre.

Rice is important as it is cultivated on roughly half of all agricultural land in Thailand and accounts for nearly 55% of climate 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 preventing a fast transition to low-emission rice production practices.

Mr. Pongphun Jongrak, Executive Vice President, BAAC
Mr. Pongphun Jongrak, Executive Vice President, BAAC said BAAC has a policy that wants to encourage farmers to cultivate rice following a new approach that helps increase yields, quality and revenue and reduce global warming by offering two options of financial support measures as follows:

Farmers living in these pilot areas are eligible to apply for ‘Package 1’ of the scheme. Following approval, they will receive 50% subsidy support along with 50% pre-finance for Land Preparation and Laser Land Leveling (LLL) services in rice fields up to a maximum of 2,000 baht per rai in total.

Agripreneurs interested in becoming LLL service providers can apply for the so-called ‘Pro 2’ package. It includes free training programmes organised by the project and the eligibility to apply for 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 farmer 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. Pongphun said.

Land Preparation and Laser Land Leveling (LLL) can enable farmers to access technology essential for boosting their productivity and farm management efficiency.

Chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, funded by NAMA Facility, and supported by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the Rice Department, GIZ, and related domestic agencies, the Thai Rice NAMA project’s 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 agripreneurs 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. Sustainable rice improves quality of life and livelihoods while preserving the environment vulnerable to global warming.

Krit Uttamavetin, Deputy Director General, the Rice Department
Mr. Krit Uttamavetin, Deputy Director General, the Rice Department, said the transformation of Thailand’s rice production sector, replacing current practices with sustainable and less greenhouse gas emitting processes, comprises the following four approaches: the LLL technology, Alternate Wetting and Drying, Site Specific Nutrient Management, and Straw and Stubble Management. The LLL technology is one of the key evidence-based approaches that help farmers increase rice yields and save water while reducing soil surface depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Rice straw is an abundant agricultural surplus because rice is one of the leading staple food crops in the Asian region. However, a lack of knowledge about the straw’s alternative uses among farmers and intensive rice cultivation systems often lead to burning the byproduct. This practice creates negative impacts not only on human health but also the environment, leading to climate change,” Mr. Krit said.
Mr. Reinhold Elges, GIZ Country Director Thailand and Malaysia
Mr. Reinhold Elges, GIZ Country Director Thailand and Malaysia, said sustainable rice production will play an important role in the transformation of the Thai economy towards decarbonisation.

“Thailand has announced its intention to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050 and aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065. This transformation needs to be just and produce benefits for all. To achieve these goals, farmers need access to technology and innovation, so they can enhance rice farming efficiency and productivity while helping reduce climate change impacts. The technology that is available and presented here increases production efficiency and reduces global warming in farming. GIZ proudly supports cooperation between Thailand and Germany. We will continue to help our agricultural partners in Thailand by setting a target to promote the adoption of sustainable rice farming by 100,000 Thai rice farmers in the six central provinces of Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, and Suphan Buri. This will be a huge benefit to participating farmers and service providers. If widely adopted, these innovative practices will also help Thailand to achieve its goal of decisively addressing the global climate crisis.” Mr. Reinhold said. ■

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