Agriculture is the second largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sector in Thailand, at the same time being highly vulnerable to adverse climate change effects. The Thai rice sector is not only responsible for almost 60 per cent of Thailand’s emissions from agricultural activities, but is also the world’s 4th largest emitter of rice-related GHG – mainly methane.
The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) a multi-stakeholder platform co-convened by UNEP and the International Rice Research Institute to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector has a first global voluntary standard and successfully pilot tested the standard for the production of sustainable rice.
This SRP Standard provides a framework for advanced farming practices, leading to higher net profits, increased yields, enhanced food safety, and – last but not least – lower GHG emissions. In irrigated rice cultivation, switching from conventional farming practices to applying an Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) on laser land-levelled fields can reduce significantly methane emissions.
The NSP will outreach to 100,000 rice farming households in Thailand in shifting from conventional to low-emission farming in Thailand.
The NSP will work with farmers and farmers’ associations as well as external service providers (e.g. for land-levelling) in adapting these advanced farming practices and develop respective incentive schemes including financial support. While the NSP plans to focus on six relevant provinces in the Central Plains of Thailand its replicability of this innovative approach on the national scale and also in the ASEAN region will be facilitated by the NSP.
Financial ambition: The NSP expects to generate additional EUR 21.5 million direct financial investments from the private sector for the implementation of innovative financial incentives. The Royal Thai Government currently earmarks at least another EUR 25 million annually in agriculture- and mitigation-related areas.
Mitigation potential: the switch to low-emission cultivation of rice is estimated to have a potential of avoiding emissions of 1.664 Mt CO2e cumulative over the 5-year lifespan of the NSP with increasing annual mitigation potential, reducing baseline emissions from irrigated rice by more than 26 per cent.