Agriculture Easy (Thai Version)


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Riding the durian Belt and Road: Risky times for Thai agriculture

In Thailand, there are more than varieties of rice and so optimizing harvests can be a complex matter. The rice wheel has been in use since early with remarkable results contributing to improved rice farming in the central region of Thailand. However Professor Kawtrakul admits the cardboard wheel has drawbacks.

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For example, if a rice variety is abandoned or a new variety appears in the world of rice farming, the only way to include the change in the query process is to reconstruct the physical wheel. Professor Kawtrakul also explains that the kind of queries the physical wheel can handle are simple and limited to planting or harvesting dates.

This means questions about planning rice farming cannot be answered using the cardboard wheel alone.

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However, the team from the Hia-Chai Rice Seed Centre are finding ways to get over the limitations of the card and are working on an app that can be accessed by mobile phone. Learn more.

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These specially designed safety kits, donated by BASF and distributed by the Thai Rice Department, are designed to help smallholder farmers minimize their exposure to crop protection products by following good agricultural practices. The kit consists of a pair of nitrile gloves, particulate filter masks, protective eyewear and an easy-to-understand, picture-based instruction leaflet.

We applaud BASF for its efforts to encourage the safe use of crop protection products, and look forward to working with the company to bring more awareness about good agricultural practices to smallholder farmers in Thailand. I was picturing the devastation, but what I actually saw was the rice plants still standing firmly even though the water level had risen up to one-third of the plant.

However, rice plant is not a water plant, so I together with 2 workers grabbed sickles and jumped into the field. Since the water level was rising, while I was harvesting, not all could be harvested in time. I could only save half. After four days had passed, the rice stalks were dry enough to be threshed. This was also performed manually by using two sticks tied together with a rope or can use hands to grasp a bunch of stalks and to hit them on a large tarp to release the grains.

Some places hire a thresher truck for labor-saving and time-saving purpose. Then, rice grains can be collected in bags, and brought to the local village mill in order to remove the husk from the grains. Polishing and sacking are the last steps in the process of rice production. The total amount of rice grains that I got was about kg, and around kg after milling.

Not that bad, but it did not meet my expectations. Well, I still have my next batch to improve my techniques. After the harvesting period, I had learned some valuable lessons from my first rice cropping experiment. I realized I needed additional hands to help me in the cropping processes, especially transplanting, harvesting and processing since investing in machinery is too expensive for a small area like mine.

However, it was not easy to find anyone willing to help me. The attitude towards being a farmer is not positive. This is especially so among the youths, even if their parents have been working in the fields for their entire lives. Consequently, the number of young farmers is decreasing in many places, including my area.

The solution that came to my mind is to invite people living in the city, who are interested in rice farming, to help me during transplanting and harvesting periods. Not only will they get the experience, but also organic rice grains to consume or sell.

Another important thing that I found out is the attitude of local farmers. Most of them think that new techniques consume a lot of time; moreover, they are used to the old way of flooding the rice fields to control weeds. I would say that being different in a rural society possibly brings trouble to the farmer. Clearly, I did received negative remarks and looks from local farmers, but I have proven that rice cropping is what I really love. And it is what I want to do.

Even though I made some mistakes and I experienced unpredictable situations, like flooding, I would say that these two new techniques have proven to me to be effective methods for growing rice. Why do Thai farmers work hard and are yet still poor?

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Riding the durian Belt and Road: Risky times for Thai agriculture

That is because most of their income depends on the price they can get for their rice. Not many of them take a look at the production cost, which mainly comes from chemical pesticides and fertilizers, so they got stuck in debt. Why is helplessness a common feeling among Thai farmers? Local farmers are smart, I would say, but they do not realize their potential. Although the new techniques make it easier for them to control all factors in the paddy field, they are still scared of changing from the conventional way to a new way of doing things. Is there a way to make any change?

Data-based Thai cardboard rice wheel improves smallholder farming techniques

The major obstacle is labor-intensiveness, which can be solved by connecting local farmers with people from the city. Geographically, the Thai province of Nakhon Sawan lies only a short drive from lush lowland paddy fields, but it seems a world away. In this region the rainy season between May and September brings enough water for a single crop, usually of maize or cassava, and in the dry season the fields lie fallow.

Almost all maize in Thailand is rainfed, grown under similar conditions.

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These are varieties produced by the national maize program, focusing prior to AMNET on resistance to the disease downy mildew, which have also proved themselves under drought screening. The first, Nakhon Sawan 2, was released in The second, experimental hybrid NSX , has been popular in farmer participatory trials and with local seed companies, and is slated for release in For Grudloyma, this collaborative approach is a big change.


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We each have different experiences, and when we share problems we can adapt knowledge from others to our own situations.

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