Thailand eyes on innovative finance mechanism for climate-smart rice farming

Norawit Suwannakarn, Agriculture and Food Cluster

Thailand aims to promote climate-smart and sustainable rice farming practices for enhancing farmer’s ability to adapt themselves to more frequent droughts, while helping reducing gas emissions harmful to climate change. 

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH worked together with the Thai Rice Department to develop the concept for low-emission and climate-resilient rice cultivation. A concept note on“Strengthening Climate-smart Rice Farming in Thailand”, or Thai Rice GCF in short, was recently submitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF aims at supporting the efforts of developing countries facing climate change challenges, said Dr Anja Erlbeck, Director Agriculture Finance of GIZ Thailand’s agriculture and food cluster.

Dr Anja Erlbeck
It is expected that up to 250,000 farmers in 15 central, northern and northeastern provinces will directly benefit from the proposed project, focusing on enhancing their capacities to implement innovative rice farming practices including the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), Laser-Land Levelling (LLL), straw and stubble management, and a series of trainings on good agricultural practice, as well as certification of rice according to the Sustainable Rice Platform’s (SRP) GAP++ standard.

Such innovative farming practice will enable farmers to efficiently cope with the impact of climate change especially the frequent prolonged drought periods. The five-year project also aimed to reduce estimated 4.6 million tonnes equivalent of harmful carbon dioxide emission to the climate. Climate risk insurance will be strengthened to cover remaining risks for smallholder farmers. Climate and financial vulnerability among as many as 1.25 million household members will be reduced.
Dr Apichart Pongsrihadulchai
“The proposed Thai Rice GCF project will not only promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emission from rice farming but also support Thai rice farmers to cope with any unpredicted extreme weather events. This proposal will also help upscale current activities implemented under the Thai Rice NAMA project while serving as a role model for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Thailand’s agricultural sector”, Dr Apichart Pongsrihadulchai, Advisor to the Director-General of the Rice Department, said.
Rice is the country’s most important crop. However, the traditional practice of growing rice in flooded paddies produces methane, a very potent greenhouse gas having up to 28 times more effect to the climate change than carbon dioxide according to report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Agriculture is the sector most vulnerable to climate change due to its high dependence on climate and weather conditions. Extreme weather events associated with climate change such as droughts and floods may cause sudden reduction of agricultural productivity, affecting food security and local livelihoods of millions of Thai people in the agricultural sector.
Traditional practice of growing rice in flooded paddies produces methane, a very potent greenhouse gas having up to 28 times more effect to the climate change than carbon dioxide.

This proposed project was developed based on several baseline projects including the   Mainstreaming Sustainable Rice through the Sustainable Rice Platform and Thai Rice NAMA project, focusing on mitigation actions.

The concept note for the project was developed in close cooperation with national and international partners including the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Department of Agricultural Extension, Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Sustainable Rice Platform, and representatives from private sector and research institutions. GIZ and the Rice Department have been working closely to identify possible activities, target groups and project partners for ensuring effective project implementation and country ownership. The Rice Department will also act as an Executing Entity (EE), the project implementor for assigned activities. GIZ will also act as EE and as Accredited Entity (AE), overseeing the entire project and reporting progress back to the GCF.

Agricultural experts from GIZ Thailand and the Rice Department previously held a virtual meeting with representatives from the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), where also the National Designated Authority to the GCF is located, to present the concept note and seek consultation on the submission process. The importance of innovative funding mechanism and the benefits to Thailand’s climate action was shared during the meeting. GCF has funded activities carried out by ONEP since 2017. The ‘funding proposal’ will be drafted as a next step after  the GCF Secretariat gives a green light to the concept note.

Related Resources

Factsheet: Strengthening Climate-Smart Rice Value Chains


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