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AIT, NGO team up to make rice growing greener

Rice farmers of Roi-et, AIT staff and local government officials gather for a rice transplanting ceremony.

AIT, NGO team up to make rice growing greener

AIT and the Thai Education Foundation won a competitive research grant from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Challenge Program for Water and Food in February 2006. AIT and the non-governmental organization collaborated with the Department of Non-Formal Education to select the village Ban Chaeng; District; At Smart; Roi-Et for what is known as Participatory Action Research. This research aims to integrate the successful elements from Systems of Rice Intensification and other local innovations, such as the use of green mulch to increase water use efficiency for rice production, with a group of rice farmers and the foundation. Furthermore, it aims to create a knowledge base and build capacity among rice farmers, the foundation's personnel and officials from government organizations in the areas of water use efficiency, water conservation, environmental issues and poverty alleviation.

The project work started in April, and recently a rice transplanting ceremony was attended by local government officials lead by the governor of Roi-et, Mr. Nophon Chanthrathong. He was accompanied by provincial the head of Department of Non-Formal Education, Ms. Wilawan Sonsin, as well as Mr. Ratana Methathon and Mr. Phinit Yutikan, both district heads.

Prof. V. M. Salokhe, principal investigator and coordinator of Agricultural Systems and Engineering at the School of Environment, Resources and Development, AIT presented the project to the attendees. The Participatory Action Research program is technically backstopped by Dr. Prabhat Kumar, research specialist.