Nopparuj Chindasombatcharoen

Psychological insights for sustainable agricultural transformation

University of Cambridge
PhD awarded 2024

Having completed my PhD at the Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, I am now working as a Research Fellow at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), a non-government think tank based in Bangkok, where my research focuses on industrial policy. I have a deep commitment to conducting research that advances the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of Thailand’s industries, leading to a brighter future for the nation. I am profoundly grateful to RADMA for not only providing funding for my doctoral studies through the Doctoral Studies Programme but also supporting my field research through the Postgraduate Student Research Support Programme.

My doctoral research addressed the pressing challenge of crop residue burning (CRB) among smallholder farmers in Thailand, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Smallholder rice farmers globally often burn residues after harvesting as this is the most convenient and cost-effective method. Through a mixed-methods approach, I investigated the behavioral insights influencing farmers’ decision-making regarding the adoption of sustainable residue management (SRM) practices. First, the qualitative, exploratory phase identified functional and psychological barriers hindering adoption, leading to insights on how external agricultural interventions can be used to motivate farmers to adopt SRM. Building on these insights, I conducted a lab-in-the-field experiment with 250 smallholder rice farmers in northeastern Thailand. Farmers were divided into control and treatment groups receiving different interventions to determine their impact on SRM adoption decisions. This research provided valuable insights into the psychology behind their decision-making, which could aid government strategies in designing more effective interventions to promote sustainable agricultural practices.