Showcasing the low-emission rice production and sustainable farming
Thailand’s Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, German Ambassador and BMWK visit the Thai Rice NAMA project - a Model Project for Low-Emission Rice Production and Sustainable Farming.
H.E. Mr. Varawut Silpa-Archa, Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) together with H.E. Mr. Georg Schmidt, Ambassador of Germany to Thailand, and Ms. Lioba Donner, Policy Officer for Thailand at the Division International Climate Initiative (IKI), General issues of bilateral cooperation, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), visited the pilot areas of the Thai Rice NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) project in Suphan Buri province. The project works on innovative low emission farming techniques to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rice production while increasing production efficiency.
Rice is a vital crop cultivated on roughly half of all agricultural land in Thailand and accounts for nearly 55% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. Thailand is the world’s fourth-largest emitter of rice-related GHGs. 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. As a result, the rice department is concentrating on developing a sustainable rice strategy and promoting the "3 Increases, 3 Decreases" campaign. Rice smallholders and agripreneurs are encouraged to adopt farming techniques and innovations to increase rice yields, rice quality, and revenue while decreasing production costs, water consumption, and ultimately GHG emissions in order to improve quality of life and livelihoods while preserving the environment vulnerable to global warming.
Implementation of sustainable farming techniques
The delegation learned and discussed with farmers how to implement four sustainable farming techniques that comprise LLL technology, Alternate Wetting and Drying, Site-Specific Nutrient Management, and Straw and Stubble Management. The Laser Land Levelling (LLL) technology is one of the key evidence-based approaches that farmers can use to increase
The approaches of sustainable, low-emission farming are also in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact of the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26), held in Scotland last year and will support Thailand’s announcement at COP26 of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and aiming for net-zero GHG emissions by 2065.
Views on the project
Mr. Varawut Silpa-Archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) said “If we are to drive Thailand towards carbon neutrality and achieve the intentions announced by the Prime Minister at COP26, three factors must be addressed. One is that we receive financial support from developed countries or our partners, the second is that we benefit from technology transfer, and the last factor is capacity building.”
“This is what we need from other countries to make Thailand carbon neutral. Even though we produce less than 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, we are one of the countries most affected by climate change. Today, we are asking for cooperation on these three elements, which are the factors that will allow Thailand to be one of the leaders in solving climate change problems in ASEAN and in our region.” Mr. Varawut added.
As funders for the project, Ms. Lioba Donner (BMWK) said, “It is a great pleasure for me to be here today and see the Rice NAMA project being implemented. It’s one of our 34 projects of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) in Thailand and a special one, since the project is funded by the NAMA facility where the German government is a main donor alongside the UK. For over a decade Thailand is a key partner for us in the IKI. It’s highly rewarding to see techniques such as LLL and the Wetting and Drying being implemented.”
“These new techniques are a good opportunity for farmers to have higher yields and therefore higher income. It is a highly relevant project and I am excited to be able to be here today. We look very much forward to continuing our cooperation with the Thai government on reaching the ambitious commitment of carbon neutrality by 2050,” she added.
Ms. Saowanee Phorung, a pilot farmer of Thai Rice NAMA project shared on his experience saying, “Before we joined the project, the cost was 5,270 baht per rai, without any technology to help. With the technology to help us here, the cost has gone down to only 3,200-3,500 baht per rai, enabling us to increase rice production. In the past, we had productivity of 700 kilogrammes per rai. Now with the technology, we have been able to increase the yield by at least 900 kilogrammes -1 tonne per rai. This will contribute to increased productivity and profits,”
“If we do not start adapting sustainable farming or helping the world or even reducing the methane emissions that affect global warming, we will be affected first. I would like to persuade others to farm in an eco-friendly way starting with us here. Everything starts with us, and it affects others. The environment is not far away. It is close and we are farmers. This is one of the careers that has been affected the most.” Ms. Saowanee added.
“This is the third time I have visited and I'm very happy to see that this activity is still going on. Germany has continuously supported Thailand in adapting to climate change. I have seen that the farmers have more money and at the same time they can save the environment. I feel that the farmers are very happy because it is a good business and also protects the environment.” H.E. Mr. Georg Schmidt, Ambassador of Germany to Thailand said.
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More about the project
The Thai Rice NAMA project is funded by the NAMA Facility with the Governments of Germany and United Kingdom as main donors. The project is implemented by the Rice Department (RD) on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC), the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and other partner agencies. The objective is to support Thai rice farmers in 6 provinces in Central Thailand, namely Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Suphan Buri, amounting to 100,000 farmer households, to have access to farming technology to increase the efficiency of rice production and shift to low-emission rice production. The project has a five-year period of implementation from August 2018 – August 2023-
The NAMA Facility is an international climate finance programme, which promotes ambitious measures with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NAMA is the abbreviation for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions. The NAMA Facility was jointly founded in 2012 by Germany and the United Kingdom. Since 2015, Denmark and the European Commission have also joined as sponsors, and in 2021, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a private foundation registered in England and Wales, followed.