CROPSENVIRONMENT

New farming method brings financial and environmental benefits to Thai rice farmers

A technique called alternate wetting and drying, where farmers keep the field submerged through the growing season, is a new way Thai rice farmers use to reduce not just the carbon footprint from planting rice but also the cost of water and gas. Gas, being a huge contributor to global warming, could be lessened especially reflecting change to the second biggest sector next to livestock – rice cultivation.

As per Rampha Khamhaeng, a farmer in Thailand, she wasn’t convinced by the technique at first but soon realized that it works best for her and for the environment. This saves her time and money—money that she used to use to pay for diesel to pump water into her farm.

The challenge is convincing farmers and governments of rice-growing countries like Vietnam, India, Thailand, and Philippines to use this method. Unlike cocoa or coffee, rice is not globally traded, making this technique less recognized by groups concerning workers’ rights and the environment. Alternate wetting and drying urges the use of laser land levelling, producing flatter fields and allowing the farmers to reduce their water and fertilizer usage.

To fight the growing effects of climate change, the government and the farmers must be encouraged to start eco-friendly, sustainable practices just like this. 

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