GAP – the key to developing sustainable Thai rice farming

Thailand’s agricultural sector applies Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), as defined by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at every step in production of agricultural products to ensure that everyone in the country can eat safe and healthy rice.

GAP – the key to developing sustainable Thai rice farming
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GAP – the key to developing sustainable Thai rice farming

published : 5 Jul 2022 at 14:30

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Thailand’s agricultural sector applies Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), as defined by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at every step in production of agricultural products to ensure that everyone in the country can eat safe and healthy rice.

GAP standard is a good agricultural practice for selecting fresh water and suitable harvesting areas, assessment of hazardous substances, crop storage and delivery, controlling crop pests, formulating effective rice production processes, and harvesting and post-harvesting handling of agricultural products. 

The phrase “You are what you eat” is often bandied about, especially with the advent of health and wellness trends today where people tend to choose to eat more good food in order to stay fit and healthy. The benefits of healthy eating have become too important to ignore. 

Rice is eaten by Thais at almost every main meal. It has long been a major cash crop for Thai exports and domestic consumption, thanks to its mild texture, pleasant fragrance and well-controlled quality, all attributed to applying stringent standards.  

Moreover, such standards are effective tools helping farmers survive agricultural challenges and ensuring sustainability for the agricultural sector in Thailand. Farmers, equipped with GAP knowledge must grow rice by focusing on ‘quality and safety’ rather than just ‘quantity’ and ensuring hygiene and quality throughout the whole rice production chain. 

Thai farmers today face many challenges, including slumping rice prices, and continuously rising production costs due to increases in fertilizer and pesticide prices. Farmers sometimes have to use low-quality chemicals and fertilizers to grow crops, resulting in poor soil and water quality. There are also uncontrollable factors such as volatile weather conditions, drought crises and flooding that reduce agricultural productivity. 

Despite the launch of policies and measures such as rice price insurance projects and rice mortgage schemes by government agencies to help ease farmers’ hardships, the problems remain unsolved.  

Growing rice to GAP standards necessitates selecting standardized rice seeds and delivering rice to mills certified for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP). Only then can consumers rest assured that the rice is safe, non-hazardous and pest-free throughout production chain. 

This ensures that rice is grown in non-contaminated water and that chemical substances and pesticides are only used appropriately.  

Data collection, harvesting area management and cropping storage and removal of crops with good hygiene practices also help improve productivity of rice crops. With demand not only growing domestically but also internationally, GAP standard rice can be processed and exported. 

GAP could pave the way for Thai farmers to earn more revenue and build health and wellness communities while reducing environmental pollution. 

Rice products with GAP standard are given ‘Q Mark’ certification that can be included in package labelling, boosting consumer confidence in food quality and safety. 

Rice products already bearing Q Mark labelling include Riceberry and Chonlasit rice from Phungsuk Organic Farm in Klongsi subdistrict, Klong Luang district, Pathumthani province, Thailand. These products participated in the pilot project to create a fundamental structure for rice quality in cooperation with the National Institute of Metrology (Thailand) (NIMT), Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT), and Klongsi Subdistrict Administrative Organization. The support is funded by Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) and Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO) by Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) in fiscal year 2021. 



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