By THE NATION
Those smart farmers will then play an important role in communicating the information to their community, thus helping to safely maximise the yield and support sustainable agriculture in Thailand, say proponents.
“Nowadays, the rice farming process is confronted by the challenges of high production costs and excessive factors of production, especially the misuse of crop protection which endangers humans or the environment,” said Prasong Prapaitrakul, director-general of the Rice Department. “Therefore, it is important to encourage knowledge sharing and awareness of safety in growing rice.”
The result was a decision to work with Bayer to launch the Rice Safe Use Ambassador Project.
“The Rice Department has a major mission to enhance knowledge for farmers to increase rice productivity. We organised the Smart Farmer Training to ensure that farmers received the essential information and to generate smart farmers which will be the key success in developing their community through passing on the knowledge in GAP certification and safety in agriculture.”
Under the programme, 200 farmers were selected from across the country and closely trained by experts from the project partners.
Agrochemical company Bayer has joined experts in the joint training programme, entitled “Safe Use Training”. The experts also shared assertive communication tips for farmers to draw on while passing on the information to their community as Rice Safe Use Ambassadors.
Ricky Ho, who specialises in regulatory science within Bayer’s crop science division, said the project “attaches great importance to farmer safety, and we really believe that the contribution from our experts can raise the farmers’ confidence to pass on the knowledge to their community as well as create a smart farmers network. Moreover, we believe that the success of this project will help promote and support sustainable agriculture in Thailand”.