Thai Rice Quality Infrastructure (Part1)
Thai Rice Quality Infrastructure(Part1)
Thai Rice Quality Application to Farmers in Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani Province, By: Dr.Jeerapha Boonkhong, Head of Organic Chemistry Analysis Group, Department of Chemical and Biological Metrology, National Institute of Metrology.
Rice not only is a staple food and related to the way of life of Thai people but also an agricultural produces that has been generating income for Thailand for a long time. However, Thai farmers have still been faced with the problems of the falling rice prices, on being unable to set the price by themselves and high production costs because a lot of fertilizers and chemicals are required for use. These chemicals have resulted in the soil quality to be deteriorated, while volatile weather conditions have as well affected the yields. Even with the help of the government agencies, but, it is just merely a policy that lack clear and continuous goal, thus, causing the farmers’ self-reliance to be unable to fulfill. In order for farmers to survive, they ought to learn and adjust their attitudes towards growing rice by placing the emphasis on the quality and safety for consumers instead of focusing on quantity alone; by starting from the initial step which is the use of seeds that the standard of which has been certified, the cultivations in accordance with GAP or organic rice standard, the rice milling by rice mills under GMP or GHP standard and certification of quality rice produces according to the production standard. All in all is to raise the standard of rice produces to get consumers being confident in their safety and to having sustainable competitiveness in the world markets.
What is GAP?
GAP which stands for Good Agriculture Practices, are guidelines for farming to achieve high yields, quality according to specified standard, having production processes being safe for both farmers and consumers, not to cause any environmental pollution, using resources for maximum advantage, investment worthiness and sustainable agriculture. This Principle, established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been applied by Thailand for Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). The basis consists of the requirements on water sources, planting areas, the use of the agricultural pesticides, produces storage and transports, data recording, safe productions from pests, production process management to achieve quality produces, harvesting and postharvest practices.
What Will Farmers and Consumers Get From The GAP System?
By consuming rice from paddy fields that are certified under the GAP system, consumers can be assured that such rice is of good quality, free from chemical contaminations, pathogens and pests. While the advantage to farmers planting rice under the GAP standard system is to raise the level of cultivation systematically covering the entire production cycle: such as; using water from uncontaminated sources, use of pesticides as necessary with proper method, hygienic management of cultivation plots and storage of produces. Quality produces can be further developed both for processing and exporting, thus, they will be in more market demands. While farmers complying with the GAP system will have better health and income as well as stability and sustainability in their occupations.
In addition, rice produces cultivated under the GAP standard
will receive a Q Mark to be displayed on the packaging: such as; Riceberry and Hom Cholasit Rice from Suan Phueng Suk Organic Farm in the area of Khlong Si Sub-district, Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani Province, that participates in the pilot project, a collaborative project between the National Institute of Metrology, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi and Khlong Si Sub-district Administrative Organization, to adopt the concept of rice quality infrastructure for concrete applications.
The next Part will feature articles on the role of the National Institute of Metrology (NIM) as the agency responsible for the development of the national metrology system and measurement standards in various fields of the country which are guidelines practiced by NIM to strengthen Thai rice quality infrastructure.