​Thailand and Germany join in developing sustainable rice, increasing competitiveness in the Thai market

On July 20, 2018, the Thai Rice Department, Olam (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and GIZ launched a  sustainable rice project titled "Market-Oriented Smallholder Value Chain (MSVC)" in Warin Chamrap district, Ubon Ratchathani province. Mr. Rittisun Teppitak, the chief district officer of Warin Chamrap,  presided over the event.

Dr. Apichart Pongsrihadulchai, Advisor to the Director-General of the Rice Department, said: "This year, Ubon Ratchathani is the first province to start implementing the Market-Oriented Smallholder Value Chain (MSVC) project. We will help raise the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standard to the Sustainable Rice Platforms (SRPs) in large rice fields in 29 Community Rice Centres in 7 districts of Ubon Ratchathani. These districts are Warin Chamrap, Dej Udom, Pibulmungsaharn, Sawang Weerawong, Wong, Samrong, Na Yia and Na Chaluai. This project will be implemented in Roi-et and Surin provinces next year."

"The Market-Oriented Smallholder Value Chain (MSVC) is a joint project involving Olam (Thailand) Co., Ltd, the Thai Rice Department and GIZ, as well as other relevant public and private sectors. Following the completion of the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) project (2014-2017), the MSVC project will continue working in the 3 Northeast provinces with 16,000 pilot smallholder rice farmers producing 150,000 tons of sustainable rice to be exported from 2018 to 2022. The project will also be expanded to Indonesia and Vietnam to increase the level of agriculture both in the country and the region," added Mr. Satish Thampy, Managing Director, Olam (Thailand) Co., Ltd
 
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, the Project Director of GIZ said: “The MSVC project is being implemented to promote and develop farmers' knowledge and understanding of rice production in line with Sustainable Rice Platforms (SRPs). This will lead to better quality of rice and the consumption of safe rice. The project will also help improve economic, social and environmental aspects. In economic aspects, small farmers will be able to reduce production costs, increase profits and enhance their competitiveness in foreign markets as well as strengthen their capacity in sustainable rice production. For the social aspect, Thai people will have enough rice for consumption at fair prices, and there will be more local employment. Regarding the environmental aspect, the production of SRPs will help stop paddy stubble burning, soil deterioration, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, more farmers will be encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly systems, leading to greater market opportunities in today's world where environmental conservation is important. It is also a critical approach for Thai farmers to be accepted by the global community in helping to reduce global warming."
 
Mr. Kriangkrai Chanpeng, a representative from the Rice Community Center, Pho Yai. Warin Chamrap said: "I had participated in the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) project before, and I see that it had really helped farmers to gain better knowledge of farming, harvesting and market access. When members of the project brought rice to sell, they got good prices, and those who took part in 4 training courses received a 50-baht "bonus" per 1 ton of rice. If the rice has less than 3-5 per cent of impurities, they will get 50 baht more per ton. If they can reduce impurities to less than 2 per cent, they will get 50 baht more per ton. The overall bonus will add up to 150 baht. It is considered a good incentive for farmers to reduce impurities and gain wider market access.”
 
“Farmers who had taken part in BRIA project were better off because they received higher prices. Currently, my rice fields are demonstration plots for the Market-Oriented Smallholder Value Chain (MSVC) project, which is an offshoot of the BRIA project. Before planting of rice seeds, the 9 hectares of rice fields are evenly adjusted using a Laser Level Gauge. With this method, the paddy in my demonstration plots has the same height. With less weed, the rice stalks are healthy. This is different from the surrounding rice fields where grasses are not completely removed, causing uneven height of the rice stalks." said Mr. Kriangkrai.

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