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El Nino driving Thai govt to wean farmers off water-intensive rice

QUITE A HANDFUL: Rice is being targeted because flood-irrigated paddy uses a lot of water - sometimes two and a half times the amount needed to grow a crop of wheat or maize.


RICE farmer Prapatpon Rungsatien perches on a plastic chair in a classroom in rural Thailand. Ceiling fans stir the humid air as she and 49 of her neighbours hunker down for a talk on South-east Asian economics.

Ms Prapatpon, 48, returned to school last month for a state-...

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