Thursday, May 8, 2014

CORIGAP baseline survey in Thailand goes paperless

Duangporn Vithoonjit, agricultural research officer of the
Chainat Rice Research Center, enters farmer's data directly
into the digital questionnaire.
Photo by Rowell Dikitanan
The Central Plains of Thailand is the main rice bowl of Thailand. In late November 2013, a baseline survey was conducted in key villages in Nakhon Sawan Province. The household surveys provide key baseline information for planned field activities in the central plains region under the Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint (CORIGAP) Project.

Rowell Dikitanan, CORIGAP agricultural economist, developed a questionnaire using Surveybe, a computer-assisted personal interviewing software used in collecting data. “A key advantage of using the software is that it allows enumerators to enter survey data during the interview, which reduces the time and cost spent in data encoding,” explains Mr. Dikitanan. “Also, it has real-time validating features, making the data relatively more accurate.”

Aside from questions on farmers’ practices, costs, and income, the questionnaire, designed for CORIGAP countries, has questions on crop residue and environmental indicators (see related story on “Setting environmental indicators”), and on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of farmers on key rice management technologies.

Mr. Dikitanan and Pornsiri Senakas, chief of the Rice Crop Protection Division, Bureau of Rice Production Extension (BPRE), undertook the survey with assistance from officers from the Rice Department, Land Development Department, Nakhon Sawan Rice Seed Center, Chainat Rice Research Center, and students from Kasetsart University.

The survey team reviews the data collected and problems
encountered after interviewing farmers in a village.
Photo by Estela Pasuquin
Eighty-five farmers from four villages in Takhli District were interviewed, most of whom were female.

Initial results indicate that farmers’ common method of planting rice was by wet direct seeding using a seed sprayer. Most farmers pumped water to irrigate their fields and did not pay irrigation fees. They usually sell all of their harvested fresh paddy to the government and the rest to millers.

Their average household size is four members, who consume about 1 kilogram of rice per day. The area of their largest rice parcel ranges from 2.1–3.7 hectares, with mean yields of 4.5–5.6 tons per hectare.

Mr. Dikitanan is now processing the data from the baseline survey, and will conduct follow-up surveys in the coming years to monitor the progress of CORIGAP activities in Thailand. Tablet computers will be used for survey tools in Thailand and other CORIGAP countries.

By Trina Leah Mendoza and Rowell Dikitanan

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