The recent deluge of rain in Thailand will not hamper overall rice production in 2011 as farmers will be aided by the National Science and Technlology Development Agency (NSTDA) to increase rice production with better quality seeds.
These seeds will have a shorter production time and higher yield.
NSTDA president Dr Taweesak Koanantakool,told Food Navigator Asia that damage to rice production would be minimal due partly to the short rice harvest time.
According to Koanantakool, whilst rice production would dip this quarter, by the next quarter, rice production would be back to normal. He said: “Rice production will take 4–5 months to recover and I expect our farmers to be resilient and hence we will be back to normal by the next rice harvest in May.”
NSTDA is providing farmers with seeds that will provide better-grade rice in a shorter time. The Thai government has endorsed the programme “with a huge budget” for the planting of the seeds in up to 5000 hectares of land.
The programme is conducted in conjunction with Kasetsart University research where new resilient varieties of Jasmine were developed. The seeds are being stocked in various parts of Northern Thailand and with assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Farmers Association, will be distributed to selected farmers.
Many farmers would shift to the new seeds within the next three weeks.
The NSTDA will provide farmers with a Geographical Information System (GS) that will provide real-time data on weather conditions and soil environment to help farmers farm with better knowledge.. If rains came early, planting times could be changed,said Koanantakool.
“Knowing about the weather and the conditions, the can avoid any similar disaster with the research on the GIS,” claimed Koanantakool.
The NSTDA is an autonomous organisation operating under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and is focused on providing research and innovations to various industries in Thailand.