Thailand’s Rice Department receives international award from nuclear energy agency


BANGKOK, Nov 19 — The Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) delivered an award from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to the Rice Department for using nuclear energy to develop important rice varieties of Thailand.

OAP Secretary-General Atchara Wongsaengchan on Wednesday presented the certificate of the Achievement Award in Plant Mutation Breeding to Chanpitaya Chimpali, director-general of the Rice Department.

HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha, Thai ambassador to Austria, had earlier received the certificate on behalf of Thailand from a deputy director-general of the IAEA at the organizations 58th General Conference in September.

Rice Department Director-General Chanpitaya said many countries entered the contest. Thailand is among 12 countries receiving awards in the contest marking the 50th anniversary of cooperation between IAEA and FAO.

The country is recognized for using gamma ray technology to develop two important rice varieties from the Mali 105 rice variety that is Thailand’s premier rice strain.

He named glutinous rice variety Gor Kor 6, soft, fragrant and more resistant to the brown spot disease.

Gor Kor 6 development began in 1965, was recognized in 1979 and has been popular for 35 years. Farmers grow it in many Thai paddy fields. It is in high demand in ASEAN, especially Laos and Vietnam, with exports amounting to some 200,000 tons worth US$60 million last year.

The other variety is the popular white rice Gor Kor 15, whose quality is close to that of Mali 105. Its export value is estimated at over US$400 million last year.