Thai Rice Exports Surge as Indonesia Faces Reduced Harvest Due to Drought06 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has reported a surge in Thailand’s rice exports as Indonesia’s rice industry was hit by El Ni?o-triggered droughts and a delayed monsoon season during the first 10 months of this year.Information from the October 2023 projection of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast a 3% drop in Indonesia’s 2023/24 rice production at 33.5 million metric tons. Indonesia typically has three rice growing cycles annually, with the primary cycle during the rainy season - from October to December - accounting for about 45% of total rice cultivation, and harvests between February and April. Two additional off-season cycles occur during the dry season. Most of Indonesia’s rice cultivation relies on irrigation, covering 85% of the cultivated area, primarily in lowland regions that depend on rainfall to supplement irrigation systems.The Trade Policy and Strategy Office also reported that Thailand’s rice export volumes in the first ten months of 2023 reached 6.9 million tons, an 11.4% increase from the same period last year, valued at nearly 136.3 billion baht, a 24.7% increase. The top five rice export markets for Thailand are Indonesia at 13.19%, the United States, South Africa, Iraq, and China.
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Govt Rolls Out Incentive for Green Sugarcane Farming05 Dec 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The government has launched an 8 billion baht campaign to promote eco-friendly sugarcane farming, targeting the reduction of harmful PM2.5 dust particles during the 2022/23 harvest year. Deputy Government Spokesperson Rudklao Suwankiri said on Monday that the program, funded by the state-owned Bank for Agricultural and Agricultural Cooperatives, rewards farmers with 120 baht per tonne for harvesting sugarcane without burning the residue. This policy is part of a broader strategy to combat the issue of crop residue burning, a significant contributor to air pollution.The cabinet’s approval follows the Cane and Sugar Board’s resolution on September 28, supporting sugarcane farmers with up to 8 billion baht. Rudklao highlighted the urgency of tackling PM2.5 pollution and assured that the incentives align with World Trade Organisation (WTO) Green Box standards, promoting sustainable practices without affecting production costs.For the 2023-24 crop year, Thailand expects a sugarcane output of 82.4 million tonnes. To support the sugar industry further, the cabinet endorsed a two-baht increase in domestic sugar prices on November 14, reflecting higher production costs. However, an additional boost for environmental purposes was rejected to avoid burdening consumers.
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Bangkok Faces Rising PM2.5 Levels Amid Poor Air Circulation20 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Bangkok is currently grappling with a surge in PM2.5 dust levels, attributed to poor air circulation. According to the Bangkok Air Quality Information Center, the Thai Meteorological Department, and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, the city is set to experience varying levels of air quality over the next week.Starting today (Nov 20), several areas in Bangkok are expected to have moderate PM2.5 levels. However, from November 21 to November 23, the situation is predicted to worsen, particularly affecting eastern and southern Bangkok, potentially impacting health. On November 24, the areas of concern will shift to include northern Bangkok.Improvements are expected by November 25, but eastern and northern Bangkok will continue to be under close observation. The week concludes on November 26, with a moderate dust situation in eastern and southern Bangkok. Relevant units have since been tasked with intensifying efforts to combat the PM2.5 issue and lessen its impact on public health. Residents are advised to stay informed about the air quality by using resources such as the AirBKK application, available on iOS and Android, visiting www.airbkk.com, or following various Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) Facebook pages and LINE channels. The public is encouraged to report pollution sources through the Traffy Fondue application, a complaint reporting and management system operated by the Bangkok Municipality Administration.
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Interior Ministry Declares Path to Sustainability10 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Thai Ministry of Interior has detailed its comprehensive plan to integrate sustainable development goals into national policies.Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul delivered a special lecture titled "The Direction of Policy Mobilization for Sustainable Development of the Ministry of Interior" at the event Thailand’s Sustainable Development Partnership between the Ministry of Interior and the United Nations Organization.Anutin stated that his ministry already has a comprehensive responsibility for the welfare of the citizens, under the motto "Alleviate Suffering, Promote Well-Being." He believes it is not difficult to incorporate the "Sustainable Development Goals" into the Ministry’s policies.These encompass promoting health through primary healthcare systems, developing standard potable water systems, using clean energy, and supporting energy conservation by transitioning government vehicles to electric and promoting the installation of solar cells in government agencies as a model before spreading to communities. There are also plans to reduce carbon emissions to achieve the Carbon Neutrality goal, decrease inequality through infrastructure development, and increase income by developing tourist spots and community products. Environmental conservation and mitigation of global warming are addressed by encouraging citizens to adopt the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty the late King Rama IX for sustainable living and tackling structural issues such as urban planning to accommodate climate change. Anutin further stated that the design of "energy-saving buildings" should become the "new normal," with systems that maximize the use of clean and wastewater, and "waste management" should promote circular economy approaches to reduce methane emissions, among other things.
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Thailand Sets Up Emergency Center for Impending Haze Crisis08 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has established an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to address the critical issue of haze pollution, which is forecasted to intensify, especially in the northern region. Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Opas Karnkawinpong acknowledged the persistent challenge posed by PM2.5, ultra-fine dust particles considered harmful to health. While seasonal rains have currently mitigated the issue in Bangkok, patterns suggest a resurgence later in the year lasting until mid-March. The expected drier and hotter conditions may contribute to an increased risk of forest fires, exacerbating the air quality problems.The EOC’s objective is to collaborate with other agencies to keep a close watch on environmental conditions and health repercussions. Health risks range from respiratory and skin irritation in the short term to heightened chances of developing severe conditions like heart disease and cancer over time. Vulnerable populations, including the elderly and children, are advised to remain indoors, preferably in areas with air purifiers.Dr Opas emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of PM2.5 pollution, which are primarily linked to vehicle emissions and industrial activities. In line with these efforts, the Ministry is moving towards renewable energy solutions, including the installation of solar panels and the future deployment of electric vehicles as ambulances in state healthcare facilities, to combat the pollution crisis.
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TDRI Urges Government to Implement Carbon Taxes in Response to Global Warming Challenges01 Nov 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - As the world is preparing for measures to counter global warming, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) advocates for the government to swiftly implement carbon taxes. The move is expected to foster new trade opportunities and encourage both public and private sectors to adapt to new market conditions.At the TDRI annual seminar for 2023, the institute’s president, Somkiat Tangkijvanich, stated that Thailand faces trade and investment restrictions, particularly from the European Union’s upcoming Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). This policy is expected to affect the import of specific heavy industrial goods and may expand to other products in the future. The regulations will have a direct impact on Thailand’s economy, especially affecting the private sector in trade, investment, and exports. The government is advised to promptly develop a clear strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. TDRI suggests a dual-system carbon tax, comprising a tax on exported goods and an energy carbon tax. The initiative is expected to generate approximately 30 billion Baht in annual revenue for the government. The funds should be allocated to a dedicated account aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changing climate conditions, supporting both production sectors and the public.
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Government Prioritizes Efficient Water Management Across Provinces31 Oct 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Efficient water management has become a paramount concern for the government as it seeks to ensure the sustainability of agricultural practices and mitigate the risks of both drought and flooding. Recent inspections have been conducted in various provinces to safeguard communities from the potential consequences of water-related challenges.Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has taken a personal interest in this initiative, using his Facebook account to underline the significance of effective water management. Following a recent on-site visit to Udon Thani province, he stressed the government’s unwavering commitment to maintaining a "no flood - no drought" scenario.Prime Minister Srettha also drew attention to a pressing issue: only one-third of the annual rainfall is being adequately stored, while the remaining water flows away untapped. Urgent action is needed to address this situation, and he expressed his optimism that, with the right knowledge and market access, Thai farmers’ income could experience substantial growth over the next four years.An example of effective water management can be found in the Huai Pak Baeng Reservoir Project, which is now considered a model for other regions to emulate. The Prime Minister emphasized that the government is prepared to provide support to such projects, particularly in cases where budgetary constraints or other challenges may arise, emphasizing the importance of expediting water storage initiatives.The Office of The National Water Resources has also recognized the need for strategic planning to combat droughts and floods. Vigilant monitoring efforts have been underway throughout the 2023 rainy season in collaboration with relevant agencies, with a primary objective of minimizing the impact on the public.The Office has unveiled comprehensive plans for advanced water management over the next two years. These plans include measures to address the potential impact of El Nino conditions, with the ultimate aim of ensuring a consistent and reliable water supply for the nation through 2025.
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Rising PM2.5 Levels Prompt Health Alert in Bangkok and Its Vicinity25 Oct 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - An increase in PM2.5 particulate matter has been noted in Bangkok and its neighboring provinces. The Pollution Control Department (PCD) has issued an air quality alert for 25 October.The elevated levels are attributed to a high-pressure system moving over the northeastern and central regions of Thailand. This system is causing stagnant air conditions and weak wind speeds, inhibiting the dispersion of pollutants for the next two days.Relief is expected from October 25th to 26th as rain is forecast, which will likely help disperse the accumulated pollutants.The Pollution Control Department is urging the public to avoid open burning, minimize vehicle use, take health precautions, and check air quality updates before leaving home.
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Thailand and Germany Launch Joint Project to Support Carbon Neutrality22 Oct 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand and Germany have launched a joint project to help Thailand achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The project, called the Thai-German Cooperation on Energy, Mobility and Climate (TGC EMC), is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)The TGC EMC project will focus on cross-sectoral issues such as energy and transportation. It will establish city labs to test and implement new technologies and approaches in urban settings. The project will also provide seed funding and capacity development for local projects and fund managers.The launch of the TGC EMC project is a significant step forward for Thailand’s climate ambitions. The project will help Thailand to develop and implement the necessary policies and measures to achieve carbon neutrality.
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