Adaptation of Rice Production System to Climate Change in Thailand: Trend and Policy

Adaptation of Rice Production System to Climate Change in Thailand: Trend and Policy

Published: 2022.06.14
Accepted: 2022.06.14
9
Director
Bureau of Rice Policy and Strategy, Bureau of Rice Policy and Strategy, Rice Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Bangkok, Thailand
Expert
Rice Policy and Strategy, Bureau of Rice Policy and Strategy, Rice Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Bangkok, Thailand
Director
Information and Communication Technology Center, Center of Information and Communication Technology, Rice Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Bangkok, Thailand
Professor
Plant & Soil Sciences Dept. and Center for Agricultural Resource System Research, Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University

ABSTRACT

Climate is a significant factor which affects the growth and yield of rice. The objective of this paper is to point out the trend of rice production system in Thailand and its related government policy to support rice production system for adaptation to climate change. In 2021, the rice area and the number of farmer households in wet season rice production is 10 million hectares and 4.7 million households, respectively. Based on the total rice area, 76% of which is dependent on the amount and pattern of precipitation and another 24% is under irrigated system. There are two rice seasons for rice production in Thailand—the wet and dry seasons. Variation of weather affects both the growth and yield of rice. Flood, drought, and dry spell are causes of the damage of rice production especially in the wet season. Based on the environment, water consumption and market demand, trend of the future of precision farming is a suitable set of technology for rice production adaptation under climate change. Digital technology for data and information services will be used for moving from individual small farming to consolidate farming for rice production. The future trend of rice production system, machine, technology and innovation will be widely used for improving productivity. Rice Department developed the official operation plan for 2023 – 2027. The rice policy focuses on: 1) strengthening farmers and farmer organizations for self-reliance having enough income and well-being, 2) increase the efficiency of rice production management, and 3) increasing the potential of research, breeding and rice production technology for improving rice production system. Moreover, smart farmers, tools, knowledge and decision support system are the basic factors needed to meet the ultimate goal of precision farming to adapt to the variations of weather under the climate change phenomena. Government policy is now being implemented to move small individual farming to consolidate big farming and also transform from the conventional production system to precision farming. Targets of cost reduction, increase yield with upgrade product standards are focused to meet market’s demands. In summary, smart farmers, tools, knowledge and decision support system are the basic factors needed to meet the ultimate goal of precision farming adapting to weather variations under climate change.

Keywords: rice, wet season, dry season, adaptation, climate change

INTRODUCTION

The historical evidences of rice production in Thailand have been shown for a long time spanning 3,000 to 5,000 years of rice growing in Thailand (Castillo, 2011). Those evidences indicate that it has been a long time of adaptation of rice production system in Thailand. Rice production is first for self comsumption and food security of the farmer households, exchange with neighbors for being generous and food security in the local community. The rice production of Thailand in the year 2021, the area and the number of farmer households in the wet season rice production is 10.0 million hectares and 4.7 million households (DOAE, 2022), respectively. Rice production system is the highest proportion of water consumption and the lowest efficiency in terms of economic aspect as compared to other agricultural activities. The proportion of rainfed and irrigated water supply for rice production area are 76% and 24%, respectively. In the last few decades, the effect of climate change, including floods, droughts and dry spells have significantly affected rice growth and yield (Attavanich, 2018). Changing of seasonsonal patterns, variation of amount and pattern of rainfall are the cause of difficulty in rice production management. The total of more than 3.5 million hectares of rice production area with the value of more than US$700 million of rice production system was lost from 2015 to 2021. Therefore, adaptation strategy is needed for improving rice prodcution system in order to reduce the negative impact of climate change on rice. The Climate Change Master Plan 2015-2050 of Thailand was prepared and proposed by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning. It was approved by the Cabinet on July 14, 2016. The main purposes of the Master Plan are: 1) To provide a long-term national framework for climate change adaptation and low carbon growth promotion according to sustainability development principle; 2) To provide a policy framework for the development of mechanisms and tools, at sectoral and national level, to achieve effective resolutions for climate change; 3) To provide government agencies and relevant organizations with a framework for detailed action plans; facilitating awareness and mutual understanding by means of a common framework of reference points, thereby increasing integration and reducing redundant processes; and 4) To provide budgeting agencies with a clear framework for budget allocation, thus enabling the mobilization of concrete climate change resolutions. The vision of Thailand Climate Change Master Plan 2015-2050 is that “Thailand is resilient to the impacts of climate change and achieves low carbon growth through sustainable development.”

This indicates that the trend of rice production system is more affecfed by variation of weather both within growing season and variation year by year. Among the government policies under the National Strategy and National Economic and Social Development Plan, both short-term and long-term plans, precision agriculture technology is one of the agricultural policies. It will be implemented for adaptation coupled with related data sets, machines, and decision support system focusing on cost reduction, increasing yield and upgrading of agricultural products under the climate change phenomena. Rice Department is also focusing on varietal selection, varietal improvement, and adaptation technology to combat the effects of climate change. Climate projections also suggest that Thailand’s agriculture sector could be significantly affected by a changing climate, due to its location in the tropics where agricultural productivity is particularly vulnerable to temperature rises. The human impacts of climate change in Thailand remain dependent on the approach to adaptation adopted, but there is a significant risk that the poorest and marginalized groups will experience disproportionately greater loss and damage. (The World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank, 2021)

CURRENT AND TREND OF RICE PRODUCTION SYSTEM IN THAILAND

Current rice production in Thailand

Rice production in Thailand covers an aea of about 10 million hectares annually. Rice production system is separated into wet and dry seasons. Total of 10 million hectares is classified into upland rice, rainfed rice, irrigated rice, and deepwater and floating rice production systems. In terms of ecosystem aligned from upstream to downstream, there are four ecosystems of rice production including upland rice (0.4%), rainfed rice (75%), irrigated rice (24%) and deepwater rice (0.6%) ecosystems (Figure 1). They differ in terms of elevation of growing area, rice variety, crop management, growth duration, grain guality and market oriented. In terms of water resource, the upland rice and deepwater rice production ecosystems are under rainfed ecosystem. Basically, water resource is a significant factor affecting rice production. Due to the difference of rice ecosystems, so that elevation, soil property, rice variety, cultivation technology, cropping growth duration, crop management, yield and quality are also different. Rice production system has the most water consumption compared to other agricultural activities or other sectors. The amount and pattern of precipitation has an effect on the growth and yield of rice production in all ecosystems. The onset of the rainy season, dry spell, and end of season have significant effects on biomass accumulation and translocation of biosynthetic substances for yield formation.    

Based on the 10 million hectares of rice area, in three quarters of the area, rice production is dependent on the amount and pattern of rain fall and another quarter is under irrigated system (Figure 2). In the past decade, both systems were affected by both flood and drought events. In 2011, the lower plain area of more than 4 million hectares was flooded (GISTDA, 2021a), most of which are in the rice production area. Two main sources of water supply to support rice production system are rainfed and irrigated systems. The onset of rainfed, amount and pattern of precipitation, and the end of season are all affecting rice growth and yield or even grain quality. The amount of water storage of the dam in upstream has an effect on irrigated rice production during the dry season. Land leveling is one of significant technologies that is suitable to implement for increasing water use efficiency. Land leveling with alternative wetting and drying technology is able to reduce 30-50% of water supply in one crop. Water saving technology, coupled with short growth duration and high yield of rice variety is the mega-trend of rice production in the near future under climate change.

Thailand is located in the Norhtern Hemisphere of the world from 5 to 20 degrees. Long length from southern region to Northern region has an effect on both the amount and pattern of precipitation during the rice growing season. Northern, Northeastern, and Central regions (including Western and Eastern sub regions) are classified into the same pattern of growing season. There are two major rice seasons in Thailand consisting of wet season and dry season. Wet season starts from May 1 to October 31, while the dry season rice starts from November 1 to April 30 of the coming year. The wet season of Southern region starts from Jun 16 to the end of February. And the dry season begins at March 1 to June 15 (Table 1). There are more than 250 rice varieties grown in the wet season which are different in terms of physical and bio-characteristics. Most of them have been selected by local farmers for local consumption and suitability for niche environment. Some of which are bred or selected by researcher during the past 7 decades. Based on the environment, water consumption and market demand, future rice variety has to be of short growth duration, high yield, and high grain quality. One significant characteristic is plant type which needs to be compatible with agricultural machinery.             

Long term of data collection from 1973 to 2018 of planted area, yield and production of rice system in Thailand had been done by the Office of Agricultural and Economics, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Variation of planted area is relatively high in the Southern and Eastern regions. These areas basically cover a majority of expansion of rubber plantation, oil palm and horticultural crops. The proportion of rice area is low compared to other mentioned activities. Many factors affect the variation of planted area during long term of data collection, for example, population, technology, rice variety, policy, social, economics and environment aspects. Weather variation shares a part of the effect on this variation which is systematically linked to rice yield and production (Figure 3).      

Rice production in the year of 2021, wet season rice production covers an area of 10.0 million hectares, followed by dry season rice of 1.6 million hectares, with the product of 26.0 and 6.5 million tons, respectively (Table 2). More than 250 of the rice varieties which are grown in this production year were classified into four rice commodities linking to market side. The first commodity group is Hom Mali rice, which are photosensitive rice varieties composed of Kao Dowk Mali 105 and RD 15 varieties. This commodity is aromatic rice with premium cooking quality. This variety won 7 of 13 events of “The World’s Best Rice Award” in the World Rice Conference, organized by the Rice Trader. The second group is Hom Pathum commodity consisting of 6 developed rice varieties. The dominant rice variety of this group is Pathum Thani1 which is non-photosensitive, low amylose and high cooking quality. Yield of this group is higher than Hom Mali rice and it could be produced all-year round. The third group is White rice. There are 45 rice varieties with both photosensitive and non-photosenssitive rice varieties. Most of the exported rice commodity belongs to this group. Rice varieties in this commodity are separated into medium and high amylose to support the needs of the market sector. The last group is Glutinuos rice. There is a total of 12 vareities under this commodity. The major proportion of this group is RD6. Product of this commodity is largely for domestic consumption. The rest of product is exported. It is of small proportion compared to local consumption in Northern and Northeastern regions of the country. Trend of rice commodity production is implementing precision farming technology in order to maintain or improve productivity of the system under variation of weather. Relation between rice commodity group and resources of water supply is that most of Hom Mali and Glutinuos rice Production are under the rainfed ecosystem. On the other hand, almost 100% of Hom Pathum and White rice commodity groups are in the irrigated areas. There is a small proportion of deepwater rice and a few lower areas of photosensitive rice under the White rice group.

Hom Mali and Glutinuos rice are more or less under the same environment in terms of production areas under rainfed. On the other hand, Hom Pathum and White rice are also in the same environment of irrigated areas. Therefore, precision technology for rainfed and irrigated rice production is different. Water management, rice varieties, fertilizer application, pests, diseases and weeds management also differ. Related rice varieties, technologies and management from the beginning of growing season to harvaesting and post harvest are prepared and ready to transfer to farmers along with implementing projects and agenda in the target areas.         

Based on the data set of farmer register system of the Department of Agricultural Extension in the year 2016 to 2019, more than 4.7 million households were registered as rice producers. Rice variety, planting area, planting dates, harvesting dates are inputted in the registration form. There are two planting date peaks. The first peak is the begining of the wet season. Ninety percent (90%) of wet season area is planted during May to mid July. The rest of the 10% of wet season is scattered from mid July to the end of October. The second lower peak is in the start of the dry season rice production. Eighty percent (80%) of dry season rice area is planted during November to mid January while the rest of the 20% is scattered from mid January to the end of April (Figure 5). The height of peaks in the wet and dry seasons is different because of the difference in total area of the two seasons. The dry season rice is only 15% of wet season in terms of area. There is an additional source of rice production area data from Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Public Organization: GISTDA). In 2020, 70% of rice area in the wet season image is detected from the week 28th to week 32nd of the year (late July to the end of August). Seed broad casting method is a significant practice for farmers for cost reduction. Satellite detection might take for some time after broadcasting to capture planted area. It may take 2 to 4 weeks after broadcasting depending on the moisture content of soil for rice germination. Eighty percent (80%) of rice production is harvested during week 45th to week 50th of the year (October to mid December) (Figure 6). Trend of management technique and using machines for rice production is now in the period of transformation. Both farmers in irrigated and rainfed ecosystems recently use more machines for rice production management from planting to harvesting. Due to seasonal changes in rice production for small-scale individual farmers, service provider of machinery for rice production is significant in terms of input efficiency and equitability of rice production chain. Moreover, technology and information for decision making in both space and time dimension is also needed.            

Flood, drought, dry spell, and the outbreak of pests and diseases are the causes of yield reduction of rice production system. From 2015 to 2021, more than 3.46 million hectares with the value of 24,089 million baht were lost (Table 3). The most significant cause of damage in terms of area and value is flood, followed by dry spell, drought and outbreak of pests and diseases, respectively. This is only the damage in rice production activity. There are also in other crops, livestock and fisheries. Therefore, variation of weather under climate change has an effect on economic and livelihood of farmers in both the short and long terms. Farmer empowerment for rice production adaptation under fluctuation of weather within season, season by season, or even under climate change phenomena has to be done.     

The effect of flood on rice production system in Thailand in 2011 and 2015 was shown on provincial basis in Figure 7. The level of the effect of flood on rice production was derived from the average product of 1973 to 2018 minus the product in 2011 and 2015. It indicates that in both production year, the volumes of production in 2011 and 2015 are higher (negative number) than the average value. It means that, even if some of the rice areas are flooded and lost, most of rice production area gained the benefit from high volume of precipitation in those years. This is the positive effect of higher rainfall under variation of weather of climate change trend. It is related to the proportion of rice area of irrigated and rainfed systems of 24% and 76%, respectively. Figures 2 and 6 showed that most of provinces under rainfed system get benefit from this event. This data set is a long term of time series with fluctuation of weather in consecutive years. An evidence from a research paper confirmed that rice yield tends to be higher with higher precipitation and good distribution. The rice yield in wet season is dependent on the amount of rainfall during growing period (Buddhaboon et al., 2004).

Trend of rice production management

In the context of rice production system in Thailand as mentioned above and based on the trend of economics, social, technology and environmental aspects, rice production system needs to be able to adapt to the changes. Climate change is the big issue which affects the growth and yield of rice. Adaptation technology for rice production under fluctuation and extreme weather is necessary. Small scale and aging of individual farmers are considered bottlenecks in using technology and machine at the local level. The Thai government by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives implements a policy for running agricultural production as a group of farmers. Consolidation of individual small-scale farming into a big farm by at least 30 small individual farmers with minimum of 300 rai (48 hectares) has been implemented since the early part of this decade. The project name is “Consolidated Agricultural Extension Project” or “Big Farm Project” for the local official communication. The objectives of the project are to reduce cost, increase productivity and upgrade production standards. Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Organic Rice (OR) productions are also activities under this project. Moreover, many platforms by organizations under the government and private sectors are being developed for decision support to manage rice production from planting to havesting all the way to market linkages. Technology, data sets and information tend to be more accessible to the smart farmers. Relevant infrastructures, and capacity building for related government officers, private staff, and farmers have to be done for upscaling adaptation ability of the system to mitigate the effects of climate change. Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) for organic certification in Thaialnd has been implemented in collaboration with government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs). It could be implemented as a model for accelerating the expansion of organic farming especially for small holders in developing countries (Pongsrihadulchai, 2020). However, rice production management need data, information and technology to support the decision. Precision agriculture offers many countries a range of possibilities for all kinds of goals aimed at both the private and public good. There are six criterias supporting the efforts including the following: 1) criteria for economic assessment; 2) temporal variation; 3) objectives of production; 4) product quality; 5) product traceability; and 6) environmental responsibility (McBratney et al., 2005). The satellite data sets are also important to support the policy process and to establish efficient communication and planning with local officials, farmers’ groups, and stakeholders for effective rice mapping and monitoring efforts. The implementation will offer opportunities for collaboration to adapt to the risky nature of rainfed wet season rice production in Thailand and elsewhere (Buddhaboon et al., 2021).                                                                                                          

Trend of digital technology for data and information service for rice production

Rice production system is the responsibility of the Rice Department (RD), Ministry of Agriculture and cooperatives. RD is a small government organization, looking after rice production system. Therefore collaboration, integration among related organizations both public and private sectors and digital technology are important for implementing and upscaling to improve rice production system. Recently, the RD is trying to develop platform applications for data and information services to the farmers. It is now in the preriod of transformation. There are many relevant factors to be prepared like related infrastructure (software and hardware), capacity building for hold system of manpower, and complete set of data and information. More than 10 applications of data and information, and management services are being developed. There are some applications for internal administration process for supporting activities under government policy and the RD argenda. Many applications are developed for the farmers to access the data and information for supporting the management decision in their farms (Table 4). 

Table 4. Applications and their objectives and services by sub agency under Rice Department for rice production adaptation under climate change (CC)

Aplications

Objectives

Services

Administration

CC adaptaion support

Rice GIS

  • collection of information and Geo-Infomatics of rice production system
  • users can display information and retrieve various information in the mission of the Rice Department

Center of Information and Communication Technology

Spacial and temporal data of the effect of flood, drought and outbreaks of pest and diceases

Rice situation reporting system

  • link to farmer registration information system from the Department of Agricultural Extension to support Rice Department activities
  • to support missions according to the integrated rice production and marketing plan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives

Center of Information and Communication Technology

Link variation of rice production system to social, economic and environment aspects for decision making to improve the system

Organic rice data system

  • collection of information and Geo-Infomatics of rice production system
  • to support the Organic Rice Production Extension Project activity

Division of Rice and Rice Products Inspection and Certification

To support sustainability of rice production under climate change

Support system for forecasting and warning of brown planthopper and blast disease outbreaks

  • data collection and report of blast and brown plant hopper out breaks  
  • Forecast and warning the outbreaks of blast and brown plant hopper on rice production system  

Center of Information and Communication Technology and Division of Rice Reseasrch and Development

Climate change adaptation mechanism of rice production system

Rice seed production and distribution system

  • Service of rice seed production and distribution
  • Accessability of the farner to rice seed with standard and being reliable 

Rice Seed Division

Support input under fluctuation of weather in the beginning of growing season

Source: RD, 2022.

Trend of moving from individual small farming to consolidated farming for rice production

The average farm size for rice production in Thailand is approximately two hectares per household. Application of full machines and technologies is not fit into this farm size in terms of economy of scale. Aging society is another factor in rice production. The average farmer age was 56 four years ago, and is now increased to 60 years (OAE, 2017). Moving forward from now on, consolidation of small farms into a big farm is a significant issue in agriculture policy. Therefore, farmer’s organizations and its network (FON) with transformation from analog to digital is the big change for rice production system under climate change and also under the context of social, economic and environmental aspects.     

RICE POLICY UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE PHENOMINA

Under the agricultural strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Rice Department developed the official operation plan for 2023 – 2027. Ther are four official operation plans consisting of: 1) strengthening agricultural security, 2) enhancing the ability of competitiveness, 3) equality building and the distribution of agricultural social equality, and 4) development of government management and research systems. Regarding the combative rice production system for climate change adaptation, there are relevant activities under the policy topic of enhancing the ability of competitiveness mentioned above. For topics under the policy of promoting rice production using precision agriculture technology, there are examples such as a project of one sub-district and one precision farming site, promotion of precision technology for rice production, development of digital technology for rice production system, promotion of consolidated rice farming. One of the technologies being implemented along with these projects is precision agriculture technology.  Precision agriculture can be defined as “the application of modern information technologies to provide, process and analyze multisource data of high spatial and temporal resolution for decision making and operations in the management of crop production” (National Research Council, 1997). Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring, and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops (McBratney et al., 2005). However, preparing of data sets and related information is needed for decision support to farmer for precision management in agricultural production. Moreover, capacity building for related public officers, private staff and smart farmers has to be done to prepare for the near future upscaling.     

Rice Policy and strategy of 2020-2024 had been drafted and developed through the integration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Ministry of Commerce together with relevant stakeholders including rice farmer associations, rice traders, and rice millers. There are four missions covering rice system from production to customers including the production sector, innovation and processing technologies, domestic market, and international markets. Based on official function, Rice Department is responsible for production mission and part of the development of innovation and processing technology. Pain points of rice production sector include small production scale, aging of farmers, low ability in access to knowledge and technologies, low productivity, and containing bottlenecks of linking between production and market sides. The rice policy focuses on: 1) strengthening farmers and farmer organizations for self-reliance and having enough income and well-being, 2) increasing the efficiency of rice production management and efficiency of competitiveness, and 3) increasing the potential of research, rice breeding and rice production technology as seen in the following:

Strengthening farmers and farmer organizations

  • Promote and push for cooperation with educational institutions, government agencies, non-government organizations, and farmer organizations to jointly develop courses and organize trainings to transfer knowledge to the farmers.
  • Training Smart Farmers and Young Smart Farmers.
  • Enhance pride, enhance income, and security in farmer’s career.
  • Promote and support the budget for tools and equipment to improve the efficiency of production and processing to farmer groups.
  • Systematize farmer groups and upgrade the gathering of farmers to become a strong community rice center (CRC)

Targets

  • Strong community rice center, at least 10,000 CRCs
  • Smart Farmer (SF), Young Smart Farmer (YSF), atleast 130,000 SFs+YSFs  

Increasing the efficiency of rice production management

  • Increase irrigation area and soil nutrients in rice production area
  • Promote zoning of rice production area and implement via conditional incentive mechanism
  • Cost reduction, yield improvement and upgrade of the products
  • Increase seed production and improve seed distribution system
  • Develop rice production management system throughout the supply chain to balance demand
  • Develop rice information and information systems to be unified, accurate and fast covering across rice production areas

Targets

  • 10% yield increase
  • Production cost is not more than 176 US$ per ton (rough rice)
  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and organic rice 10 million rais with 4.5 and 0.4 million tons of yield, respectively

Increasing the potential of research, rice breeding and rice production technology 

  • Empowerment of researchers and investment on technologies for rice variety improvement to meet market and industry demands
  • Integration for research and development for technologies and innovation for rice production under variation of affecting factors covering all rice areas
  • Develop research organizations, allocate more butget tools and equipment and fill the post for young researchers

Targets

  • New rice variety, at least 12 varieties
  • Technologies and innovations of at least 10 technologies

In the National Strategy and National Economic and Social Development Plan, both short-term and long-term plans, precision agriculture technology is one of agricultural sets of technologies and information that support rice policy. It will be implemented for adaptation coupled with related data sets, machines, and decision support system focusing on cost reduction, increasing yield and upgrading of agricultural products under the climate change phenomena. The significant point is that, Thai farmers belong to the small-scale category and are getting older. The recently averaged farm size is about 2 hectare per household, and the average age of the farmer is about 60 years old. Therefore, accessing ability to technologies and knowledge for improving the agricultural system is hard for them.  Under government policy, Consolidated Farming or Big Farming scheme is an impact policy for solving the problem. Groups of farmers under this policy is led to be a smart farmer who is able to access inputs for crop production, has effective management techniques, adapts well to agricultural production system under variability of the environment and various factors. Empowerment of farmer groups is key to access technology and knowledge for adaptation of agricultural sector under climate change. The precious research findings indicate that adaptation ability of farmers to maintain crop yield and quality of the product under the variability of weather either within a season or season by season is a challenge. So that technology for short term adaptation is significant coupled with long-term adaptation. For example, there are droughts, floods and rice neck blast outbreak during the wet season of rice production in 2019 in Thailand. Precision technology under scientific support is able to reduce loss and damage from weather variability and climate change. Big Farming scheme under the management of a group of farmers is more powerful than a single or a small farmer in terms of access to technology and knowledge for agricultural sector adaptation under climate change. Recent technologies for agricultural adaptation to climate change are technology for Forecasting and Early Warning System, Crop (variety) Improvement and Precision Farming. However smart farmers, tools, knowledge and decision support system are the basic factors to meet the ultimate goal of precision farming combating variation of weather under climate change. Many research findings support transformation from individual small farming to consolidated farming, and using related data, information and technology for agricultural system adaptation. For example, the emerging Agricultural Information and Communication Technologies (AgICTs) provide platforms and opportunities for small farms, policy makers and scientists to systemically design and evaluate new agricultural technologies prior to their actual implementations in the real farm and non-farm settings to manage limited resources. AgICTs will provide supports for SFs in different climatic and edaphic conditions to gain btter understanding of our relationships with the Earth climate system, subsequently enhance our capacity to predict and handle both threats and opportunities (Jintrawet, 2019). The rural sector should no longer be the tailpiece of urban-centered research on smart development and the 4th industrial revolution (4IR). Instead, peripherally, there should be the starting point for distinct rural research into smart rural development and 4IR technologies, and the distinct outcomes these will have on rural communities (Cowie et al., 2020). This confirms that the trend of transformation of rice production system and policy implementation for driving the transformation supported by approved data set, information and technologies are reasonable and achieveable. Finally, farmer livelihood will be better than business as usual.       

CONCLUSION

Of the total 10 million hectares of rice production in Thailand, 76% is under rainfed ecosystem, while the rest of 24% is under irrigated system. Two seasons for rice production are wet season and dry season. Variation of weather affects both the growth and yield of rice. Precision farming is a challenge technology for rice production adaptation under climate change. Digital technology for data and information services will be used for moving from individual small farming to consolidated farming for rice production. The future trend of rice production system, machine, technology and innovation will be widely used for improving productivity. Rice Department developed the official operation plan for 2023 – 2027. The rice policy focuses on: 1) strengthening farmers and farmer organizations for self-reliance and having enough income and well-being, 2) increasing the efficiency of rice production management, and 3) increasing the potential of research, breeding and rice production technology for improving rice production system. Moreover, smart farmers, tools, knowledge and decision support system are the basic factors to meet the ultimate goal of precision farming to adapt under variations of weather caused by climate change. Government policy is now implementing the movement of small individual farming to consolidated or big farming and also transform from conventional production system to precision farming. Targets of cost reduction, increasing yield with upgraded product standard are focused to meet market’s needs. However, data sets and related information need to be prepared for decision support to farmers for precision management of rice production. Capacity building for related public officers, private staff and smart farmers has to be prepared in the near future for upscaling of rice precision farming for adaptation to climate change.     

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