Visiting “Love the Earth” Rice Field, A path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in rice cultivation

Writer: Sakditat Kwanchaitunya, GIZ Thailand's Agriculuture and Food Cluster

In the early morning, it was quite busier than usual at the rice field of Thavorn Khampang, Suphan Buri province. Officers from the Thai Rice Science Institute (TRSI) were all over the rice field performing greenhouse gas measurement by using manually-operated closed chambers.

What makes the headman Thavorn’s rice paddy special is that, along the field, there are white boxes installed on each and every corner of the field. These boxes are noticeable to bystanders and used for collecting greenhouse gas fluxes in the rice field.

“Love the Earth” paddy field which belongs to the headman Thavorn  is one of locations that experts and staff from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) together with officials of the Thai Rice Department participated in this year field trips to observe  greenhouse gas measurement activities in September and December.

The Thai-German Climate Programme – Agriculture (TGCP-Agriculture) project cooperates with the Thai Rice NAMA and the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA II) projects to support the assessment of mitigation and adaptation potential of the agriculture sector, focusing on development of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for the rice sector. 

The headman Thavorn’s paddy field is one of demonstration plots in Thai Rice NAMA project. With the assistance of provincial rice research centers, farmers adopt the four low-emission technologies for his or her demonstration plot, namely alternate wetting and drying (AWD), laser land-leveling (LLL), site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) and straw/stubble management (SSM). These practices not only help to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve rice production yields.

In 2020, TGCP-Agriculture in collaboration with Thai Rice NAMA and BRIA II projects conducts greenhouse gas measurement in the Central Plain (Chai Natt, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Suphan Buri, Angthong, Sing Buri) and in the Northeast (Ubon Ratchathani). During the field observation trip, officers collected gas samples from demonstration plots by using closed chambers. Gas samples collected from the paddy fields will be analysed by gas chromatograph (GC) equipment in the laboratory at provincial rice research centers.  Currently, the GC equipment are equipped at four locations, i.e. three provincial rice research centers in Prajin Buri, Chai Ntat, and Ubon Ratchathani, and one Rice Science Institute (TRSI) in Suphan Buri. 

Following the field visit, Dr. Reiner Wassmann and Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot, Consultants from IRRI, and Dr. Thomas Jaekel, CIM Expert of GIZ held a Q & A session to share experiences from mitigation technique implementation with officers from provincial rice research centers.

From their experiences in applying the AWD method, officers saw improvements in rice growing, that the plants are stronger and more resistant to diseases and there are fewer problems from pests and rats. Despite a drawback of high cost in using the LLL technology, farmers see benefits in applying the LLL technology that helps improve effectiveness of water control, saves the cost of water pumping, and, reducing weed and pest problems in the paddy field. 

In moving forward, at the end of the brainstorming session, the action plan and solutions in solving problems faced during the field activities are agreed by representatives from GIZ, IRRI, and the Rice department.

“The results of the “Love the Earth” demonstration plots show that sustainable rice cultivation not only helps improve climate resilience by reducing greenhouse gas emissions which helps the world in climate change effort, but also increases rice production which ultimately results in the improvement of farmers’ livelihood.”  Noted Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot, Consultants from IRRI.

TRSI Officers collected greenhouse gas influxes using manually-operated closed chambers from the demonstration plot.
GHG samples ready to be analyses by gas chromatograph equipment.
During a meeting with TRSI officers and local farmers, Dr. Laddawan Kunnoot (in the middle), a national consultant from IRRI, shared her knowledge and experiences and exchanged views with participants on how to solve issues or problems during the field activities.

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