Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thailand gears up innovations on land leveling

Proper use of the laser-guided land leveling system entails correct and safe tractor operation
The Phraojen Village is one of the rice-producing areas in Chainat province that needs more water during dry season. “Although we have adequate supply of water through the Chao Phraya River, we don’t have enough during the dry season so we need to take measures,” said Winai Jaengan, village head.

To overcome this challenge, the village members rely on underground irrigation during the dry season. “This is costly for us because it needs more fuel to pump the water out.   Additionally, the farmers use small walking tractors which takes time and more cost to level the field,” he added.

The Thai Rice Department, in partnership with IRRI through the CORIGAP project has introduced innovations in rice production. One of these innovations is the laser-guided land leveling.

Thirty seven participants from Thailand’s provincial rice research centers, GIZ, private sectors (Crop Tech Asia), members of Chainat farmers’ organization (Community Enterprise) attended the three-day training on Laser Land Leveling in Chainat Province.  During the event, they learned about the theoretical and practical concepts of land leveling which includes conducting a proper topographic survey, operating a tractor in a safe and efficient way, and conducting the proper laser-guided land leveling. These new knowledge will enable them to reap the benefits of the technology sustainably.

During the training,  participants experience conducting topographic survey to know the field elevation

“The best part of the training was learning how to drive a tractor and level the field using the survey tool. I am very keen to see the results of this after one season and if the results are promising, I myself will try it in my own field, “ say Uppatum Kerdklay, farmer of 1.76 hectares of rice field.
Due to the success of the training, the Thai Rice Department is planning on conducting another training, this time for operators. “The Laser Land Leveling technology is very important for the country to further improve rice productivity, as our Thai farmers also experience challenges on volatile market prices for rice. We need to ensure that  our farmers reap the utmost benefit from using good rice technology innovations like this,” said Ladda Viriyangkura, Thai Rice Department’s Senior Specialist on Rice Inspection and Certification.


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