Kalasin province is widely known as an area of zero burning for cane harvesting during the production year of 2021/2022 under a strategic plan of environmentally-friendly sugar production to solve PM2.5 smog problems which seem to worsen in the future. Apart from that, the province is now promoting understanding among cane farm owners and everyone from all sectors as well as introducing proper technology for sustainable production of cane.
At the cane plantation owned by Mit Kalasin Sugar Factory in Som Sa-ad sub-district, Kuchinarai district in Kalasin, the provincial governor Mr. Chaithawat Niemsiri presided over the Kick-off Burning event to mobilize environmentally-friendly cane production. The governor also witnessed demonstration of using a cane leaf clearing machine, cane cutting and collecting dry cane leaves. This event was held according to the ministerial resolution on measures and guidelines to solve problems of PM2.5 smog with an aim to “create non-polluted air for Thais and visitors”. Kalasin already formulated a strategy for green cane production from 2019 to 2022 with a vision to become the province of zero burning for the production year of 2021/2022.
In terms of environmentally-friendly cane production of Kalasin from 2019-2022, there are 3 main strategies. The first one concerns information technology for management and administration and a campaign on environmentally-friendly cane plantation. The second is about promotion of appropriate technology and management to produce cane in an environmentally-friendly way. The last strategy focuses on promoting farmers’ benefits, especially those growing fresh cane, as well as law/social order enforcement.
Mr. Khamsi Saensi, the cane director of Mit Kalasin Sugar Factory, said that, for the production period of 2021/2022, the factory aimed to increase fresh cane and reduce burned one to 95%. Farmers who sell fresh cane will earn as high as 30% more than those who sell burned one. Also, the factory will buy dry cane leaves and straw at 1,000 Thai Baht per ton to reduce burning of cane farms and straw. In addition to help local farmers to earn more, it promote environmentally-friendly cane production as the factory implemented measures to check dust and smoke from every cane truck.
The chair of Kalasin Cane Farmer Association Mr. Thun Chaidam said that he agreed with the above idea on green cane production and would like to ask his members not to burn their farm to harvest cane because burned cane is lower in sweetness and prices than fresh one apart from polluting the air.
In Kalasin, 2,325,095 Rai land is used for agricultural purposes, an equivalent to 53.55% of all areas in the province. 400,000 Rai land is used to plant cane for local factories. (According to the database of cane and sugar factories, there are around 200,000 Rai lands) The proportion of fresh cane covers 46.9% or 187,500 Rai land and burned cane does 53.1% or 212,500 Rai land. As a result, Kalasin has an area where 212,500 Rai land is used for burning cane, thus smog caused by the activity of around 1,765-12,352 tons annually. Consequently, a strategy for environmentally-friendly cane production from 2019 to 2022 has to be practically implemented with cooperation of everyone who brainstormed, presented information and recommended the strategy to concerned agencies and allies.