Bangkok, Thailand, 09 Feb 2011 -- Three agreements were signed today between the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and FAO for technical assistance in the areas of climate change, food safety and aquaculture for a total of $633 000 (approximately Baht 19 million).
Over the last decade, the impacts of climate change in Thailand have become increasingly evident and scientists project for the next 30 years an increase of annual average temperatures, changes in rainfall pattern and freshwater availability, intensification of extreme weather events, sea level rise and sea water intrusion in coastal areas.
"Climate change alters the basic elements of agro-ecosystems and affects all sub-sectors of agriculture, and eventually harms national food security, rural livelihoods and the national economy," said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO’s Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific during the project signing ceremony today.
The agricultural sectors in Thailand secure national food supply, make a large contribution to export earnings, and directly sustain about 40 percent of its population.
Policy innovations are needed – underpinned by updated knowledge on proper approaches and options for climate change adaptation in the agricultural sectors.
"FAO emphasizes its concerns for the most food insecure smallholder farmers, forests dwellers and fishermen," Konuma stressed.
Thailand is undertaking new policy initiatives regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly as it relates to food security and rural livelihoods improvement. There is an actual need to fill the gap in capacity to support sector wide legislative, regulatory and policy research and study needed during this process.
The project will provide FAO expertise to the tune of $171 000 on environmental economics, agriculture economics, climate change adaptation and agriculture policy. In addition, capacity building and training will be funded as well as the procurement of specialized software.
Since 2004, the Thai government has launched a programme to produce safe and high quality foods which guarantee safety for domestic consumers and enhance competitiveness for the export sector.
FAO will assist the government to further improve the detection of hazardous chemical residues in agricultural products and strengthening compliance with international standards and food safety regulations.
There are nearly 400 types of chemicals/toxic substances available as pesticides on local markets The FAO support ($250 000) is expected to generate the capability needed for checking registered substances – for formulations and impurities as well as detecting these in unknown samples.
Today’s signing ceremony was chaired by Chalermporn Phirunsarn, Permanent Secretary of agriculture. FAO’s Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Manho So, signed the three agreements, the above two projects dealing with climate change and food safety, as well as a third project ($212 000) for an aquaculture information management system.
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For more information, contact:
ManHo So, Deputy Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific