The project’s objectives in Thailand in 2013 were to: 1) analyze production practices of rice farmers in Ban Nong Jik Ree and Ban Sapan Song, Thachee, Nakhon Sawan Province; 2) undertake a baseline survey of practices and economic inputs of farmers to obtain basic information before conducting farmer participatory adaptive research; and 3) capacity building of local staff on related knowledge. Five major activities were implemented in 2013: focus group discussions, baseline survey, environmental indicator workshop/discussions, and capacity building (including training and communication materials audit).
To survey the rice production situation, a field visit was conducted by IRRI and Rice Department staff on 13-14 May 2013. Farmer representatives from Ban Nong Jik Ree and Ban Sapan Song were interviewed on rice farming practices. Rice farming is a common source of livehood (100%), where both men and women are engaged in. Rice is grown twice a year: the first or wet-season crop is from June to October and the second or dry-season crop is from January to May.
A baseline questionnaire was developed and pretested with Thai partners and farmers in September 2013. The questionnaire was then transformed into a digital format using Surveybe, a computer-assisted personal interviewing software to collect survey data to reduce the time and cost spent in data encoding, and to make the data relatively more accurate. Actual farmer interviews using Surveybe were conducted on 20-27 November 2013. Eighty-five respondents were interviewed from two CORIGAP villages and two non-CORIGAP (control) villages. Click here to read more about the baseline survey.
Three Rice Department staff members were trained at IRRI-Los Baños to improve their knowledge and skills to carry out activities under the CORIGAP project. One attended a 2-week rice postproduction training course in October 2013, and two others attended a 2-week training course on ecologically based pest management in November 2013.
An important CORIGAP objective is to measure the environmental footprint from rice farming related to implemented production technologies. To decide on appropriate indicators, the Rice Department facilitated the participation of specialists from multiple sectors with experience in working in the Central Plains.
On 18-19 November 2013, the Rice Department arranged a workshop titled “Setting Environmental Footprint Indicators Relating to Rice Farming Ecology and Introduction to Baseline Survey Questionnaire” in Ayutthaya Province. The workshop objectives were to brainstorm on options for monitoring related environmental indicators at the farm and landscape level.
About 50 participants attended the workshop drawn from seven organizations. The three guiding questions of the workshop were (1) “Which indicators that have been measured are related to the environment?” (2) “Which indicators should be continued and added for further research at the study sites in Nakhon Sawan Province?” and (3) “What organizations should be responsible in conducting the study and in measuring the environmental indicators mentioned in question no. 2?”
The environmental indicators identified by the participants will be finalized by the identified organizations, with a primary plan for implementation developed in January 2014.