German president visits rice fields in Isaan and North Thailand

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier embarked on a journey to Thailand’s rice fields in Ubon Ratchathani and Chiang Rai.

The two Thai provinces boast over 4.2 million rai of rice fields.

President Steinmeier and his delegation paid a visit to the Suan Ta Rom Demonstration Farm in Trakan Phuet Phon district, Ubon Ratchathani. The 35-rai (56,000 square metres) integrated farmland showcased the innovative strides of the Inclusive Sustainable Rice Landscapes (ISRL) project. The President was received by Captain Thamanat Prompow, Minister of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, Nadhavathna Krishnamra, the kingdom’s ambassador to Germany, and key representatives from local companies.

Thailand, a global rice titan, annually churns out an impressive 30 million tonnes of rice, with up to 10 million tonnes exported, primarily the famed Hom Mali rice, according to Captain Thamanat. However, the appetite for rice production and the historical reliance on monocropping have left a detrimental mark on the environment. Enter the ISRL project, a beacon of hope supported by German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Thai Rice Department, OLAM Agri, and funded by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Environment Programme.

The ISRL project is not just a lofty dream; it’s a rallying cry for change. With a mission to engage 45,000 Thai farmers, the project champions climate-smart rice farming practices and cutting-edge technologies. President Steinmeier’s visit served as a catalyst, encouraging communities to adopt environmentally friendly approaches, reported Bangkok Post.

As part of this revolutionary initiative, communities are diving into the realms of producing natural composts and biocontrol products. This not only slashes farming costs but also mitigates the risks associated with chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The ambitious project promotes crop diversification and agroforestry, crafting a sustainable tapestry for future generations.

In related news, in a diplomatic meeting, the German president met with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on January 25, with promises for a cleaner, more empowered Thailand.

Amidst discussions held at the Santi Maitree Building within the Government House compound, President Steinmeier pledged unwavering support for Thailand’s green ambitions. Government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke revealed that the German president committed to projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions, steering Thailand towards its goal of net zero emissions.

Northern Thailand NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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