Climate-Friendly Rice Production in Thailand

Project type: Land Use and Forestry

Project location: Province Sakon Nakhon, Thailand

Project status: Planned

Annual CO₂ reduction: 80,000 (total over 10 years)

Rice cultivation causes large quantities of greenhouse gases. The aim of this M climate protection project is to make rice cultivation in Migros' own supply chain more climate-friendly. The climate-smart rice cultivation method uses less water and emits less climate-damaging methane gas. Higher crop yields improve farmers' resilience.

Rice is a staple food for more than three billion people and is responsible for emitting eleven percent of global methane emissions and consuming 40 percent of the world's irrigation water. One kilogram of rice consumes 2000 liters of water. Due to climate change, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) predicts a 15 percent drop in yields by 2050 and is therefore promoting climate smart agriculture.

With the help of the money from the M-Climate Fund, Migros wants to help switch from CO2- and water-intensive traditional rice cultivation to more climate-friendly rice cultivation in its own supply chain - by means of so-called AWD (alternate wetting and drying). This method is based on alternating irrigation and drying of the soil, which reduces the amount of methane that escapes into the atmosphere. 

Migros has been running its own organic cultivation projects in India and Thailand since 2010. Thanks to this project, we can now also rely on a more climate-friendly method of rice cultivation in a traditional setting. This avoids CO2 emissions, but also saves water and pesticides.

Remo Thalmann, Federation of Migros Cooperatives

The plan is to convert 1000 ha of traditional rice cultivation to the climate-friendly AWD method. More than 1000 farming families are to be trained in this new cultivation method. Demonstration fields will be used to show them the effectiveness and economic efficiency of the new cultivation method. In addition, the project will provide participating farm families with equipment to facilitate and safeguard the implementation of the method. Under AWD, yield increases are expected which, together with the prospect of higher farm profits, will encourage farmers to participate in the project.

Other benefits of the AWD method include up to 50 percent reduction in water use, more robust, healthier plants, which can help reduce the use of pesticides. This benefits the protection of small organisms. More biodiversity means healthier and more stable habitats for people and animals. Since the DWS method permanently increases net income, many farmers will continue climate-friendly land management after the project ends. Experience shows that an increase in income reduces the migration of young people.


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Higher methane emissions and higher water consumption

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