Promoting plant residue utilization for food security and climate change mitigation in Thailand

In Sustainability in food and water: an Asian perspective
Book Chapter

Burning is the most simple and cheap method for small-scale farmers to manage plant residue. This practice does prvide immediate benefits to farmers, but the wider immediate and long-term negative impacts are much larger. The objective of this study is to elaborate an alternative model for environmental and economically sound plant residue management that benefits all stakeholders particularly in terms of food security, income generation and climate change mitigation. The study found that there are several factors disrupting the adoption of non-burning practices in the study district such as land and labour scarcity, costs and the risk of wildfire. The study revealed that elementary schools and students have the capacity to manage certain amounts of plant residues and to produce vegetables and compost for the communities. Considering the weaknesses, threats and opportunities of existing policies, the study proposed a new model to manage plant residues involving local partnership and participation. This model would benefit relevant stakeholders: government, farmers, private sector actors, schools, students and the communities. Food security and income generation in the district would be the visible benefits attracting the interest of all stakeholders. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality would be benefits for the region and the globe.