CORTEVA Agriscience is planning to introduce its new herbicide “Rinskor” to Thai farmers, Farra Siregar, Asean managing director for the company said yesterday at the 5th International Rice Congress in Singapore.
Rinskor is still awaiting regulatory approval.
Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont Inc, will soon become an independent entity specialising in agricultural technology.
It has already reached up to 7 million farmers across Asia and was one of the sponsors of the three-day event that will wrap up today.
“Corteva Agriscience aims to enrich the lives of those who produce and those who consume, ensuring progress for generations to come,” Krysten Harden, senior vice president of external affairs and chief sustainability officer for Corteva Agriscience, said at interview with the Nation yesterday.
“In Asean, rice is the source of the region’s food security, furthermore, 49 per cent of the global export of rice comes from Asean, making it a key market for Corteva Agriscience. Therefore, Corteva Agriscience has been keen to introduce new agricultural technologies to farmers in the region,” Siregar explained.
“One of the main issues that farmers in Thailand are facing is weed control. There’s a certain type of weed Thai farmers are struggling to manage, affecting about 40 per cent of the total farms in the country, amounting to 3.5 million hectares,” she said.
“By working with Thai regulatory officials, we will launch ‘Rinskor’, a weed-control solution that has just won the ‘Green Chemistry Award’, given to the development of new chemical products which have the potential to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances,” Siregar added.
“The product performs well against the toughest kinds of weed, while also being the most sustainable and environmentally friendly weed-control solution to date.”
Farmers may not be keen
However, many farmers in Thailand may not be so keen on adopting this new technology.
“This is because many farmers have been using methods that have been in their family for generations. However, with the increasing impact of climate change, it is important that Thai farmers adopt these new innovations in order to maximise their yield and better cope with the challenges they face,” she said.
To address this issue, Corteva Agriscience has set up “demonstration farms” to show Thai farmers that new technological solutions in agriculture are effective.
“For many farmers, seeing is believing. Hence, if farmers see that new technological solutions work in their neighbouring area, or in demonstration farms, they will be keen to adopt it,” Siregar explained.
Corteva Agriscience has also established education programmes for farmers across the country, aiming to teach them more innovative methods of rice farming as well as give them lessons on economics, she explained.
“For instance, we share with farmers the key stages of growing rice and show them how to fully maximise their yield by following the most effective methods in each stage,” Siregar said.
“We also feel that when we talk about sustainability, it means we have to have smarter and more profitable farmers.
When farmers are making a loss, being environmentally sustainable is not going to be their main concern.
“Hence, we urge Thai farmers to really look at their farm as an enterprise. This way they can actually learn how to calculate their input costs, their labour costs and be able to estimate their yield and return on investment,” she added.
The 5th International Rice Congress also featured the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Corteva Agriscience and the International Rice Research Institute to announce their commitment to a multi-year framework on collaborative rice research, the deployment of new breeding technologies and development of breeding programmes.