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Application of satellite technology in salvaging farming activities

Thai farmers understand that the only assistance they can get from the government won’t help them when a natural disaster strikes. Farmers have to pray that the weather will favor them. Many instances have revealed farmers record low income and high costs of doing rice production. Additionally, the most frustrated farmers are those who rely on rainwater instead of irrigation. The climate crisis engineered by global warming is what has degenerated farming operations that Thailand is witnessing. Natural disasters exacerbate the poverty situation, which the residents could have avoided if they participated in informed rice farming.

Currently, the government has initiated the Natural Disaster Relief Programme in two phases to help the farmers who depend on rainwater. The first scheme covers the farmers when natural disasters strike, although farmers have complained that it only meets 30% of the production costs. Moreover, most of the areas covered by this scheme either experience floods or extreme drought. The second phase is the Thai rice insurance scheme. This program insures the farms for natural disasters as detailed in the Relief Programme. The scheme is a joint partnership between the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Thai General Insurance Association. Additionally, the program only covers 30% of the production costs.

With the growing incidence of natural disasters, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) carried out research to ascertain the climate change mitigation strategies that could help farmers recover their loss. Some of the partners programs helping in this project include the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Adaptation Finance Fellowship Programme (AFFP). The research demonstrated that the compensation schemes are marred with hurdles. The report also indicated that about 5% of the farmers request the reconsideration of their cases. However, satellite technology, which captures the appearance of the fields and the predictable weather conditions, will help the farmers prepare in advance for weather changes.

The advantage of the satellites to Thailand rice farmers is that they can also help locate the areas where water is available in huge quantities. These areas’ identity can help farmers plow the right fields and prepare in advance for weather changes. Satellites can also send data about the fields to the farmers to help them make the right decisions. This move will enable them to avoid the struggles they would encounter in requesting compensation through the two schemes. Finally, farmers can play along with satellite devices to avoid squabbles with the government.

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