Thai model farms support agricultural knowledge transfer

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Thai model farm_Arno Maierbrugger
Organic rice farming on a model farm in Thailand’s Sonkhla province. Photos: Arno Maierbrugger

In Thailand, so-called model farms located in economically challenged areas of the country are increasingly used as places to transfer agricultural knowledge to villagers and local farmers in order to support their income and make them self-sufficient in their profession.

The model farms are mostly royally initiated and set up in poor areas to teach and educate locals in farming procedures with emphasis on the use of local materials. The farms are spread all over Thailand, whereby most grow organic crops such as rice, vegetable, fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants. Animals raised in the model farms comprise of chicken, ducks, sheep, pigs, goats, cows, ostriches, fish and prawns. Some farms have also become tourist destinations.

One such farm has been established in 2005 in the southern district of Khlong Hoi Khong district in Songkhla province, not far from Hat Yai, in an area troubled by insurgency. The idea was to create occupations for villagers who otherwise were struggling to make ends meet, Taweesak Huncunt, the farm’s manager, told Inside Investor.

Thai model farm_Arno MaierbruggerThe farm has been set up with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on state land, covers around 320 acres and gives work to some 100 fully employed farmers which are taught efficient techniques for crop cultivation, animal husbandry, aquaculture, rice planting and forest conversation. The farm operations are supported by a royal foundation of the Queen.

The farms earns 750,000 baht (around $23,200) a year from sales of agricultural produce and animals, as well as related products such as soap made from organic fruits. It is open to farmers from other southern provinces to learn about integrated farming, organic crop cultivation and livestock development, Taweesak said, adding that the farm management also seeks to turn the farm into an attraction for agro-tourism.

New techniques include organic farming with a minimum of chemical fertilisers or special animal feed, which reduces costs for farmers and thus increases their revenue. Likewise, farmers are also taught to hold chicken freely which usually leads to a higher yield of eggs.

“Challenges are to convince farmers to reduce chemicals and encourage organic farming,” Taweesek said. “Of course many of them still use chemical fertilisers, but we tell them that organic farming improves the environment and is also beneficial to their own and their families’ health.”

Some 4,000 visitors from the region come to Taweesak’s farm per year to learn farming techniques or improve their knowledge, he said, adding that “our goals are to develop and improve their living conditions, as well as their health by teaching them efficient techniques, including organic farming, and eventually make them self-sufficient and also show them how to manage adverse weather conditions that lead to floods or droughts.”

Thai model farm_Arno Maierbrugger

 

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[caption id="attachment_24549" align="alignleft" width="196"] Organic rice farming on a model farm in Thailand's Sonkhla province. Photos: Arno Maierbrugger[/caption] In Thailand, so-called model farms located in economically challenged areas of the country are increasingly used as places to transfer agricultural knowledge to villagers and local farmers in order to support their income and make them self-sufficient in their profession. The model farms are mostly royally initiated and set up in poor areas to teach and educate locals in farming procedures with emphasis on the use of local materials. The farms are spread all over Thailand, whereby most grow organic crops such...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thai model farm_Arno Maierbrugger
Organic rice farming on a model farm in Thailand’s Sonkhla province. Photos: Arno Maierbrugger

In Thailand, so-called model farms located in economically challenged areas of the country are increasingly used as places to transfer agricultural knowledge to villagers and local farmers in order to support their income and make them self-sufficient in their profession.

The model farms are mostly royally initiated and set up in poor areas to teach and educate locals in farming procedures with emphasis on the use of local materials. The farms are spread all over Thailand, whereby most grow organic crops such as rice, vegetable, fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants. Animals raised in the model farms comprise of chicken, ducks, sheep, pigs, goats, cows, ostriches, fish and prawns. Some farms have also become tourist destinations.

One such farm has been established in 2005 in the southern district of Khlong Hoi Khong district in Songkhla province, not far from Hat Yai, in an area troubled by insurgency. The idea was to create occupations for villagers who otherwise were struggling to make ends meet, Taweesak Huncunt, the farm’s manager, told Inside Investor.

Thai model farm_Arno MaierbruggerThe farm has been set up with the help of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on state land, covers around 320 acres and gives work to some 100 fully employed farmers which are taught efficient techniques for crop cultivation, animal husbandry, aquaculture, rice planting and forest conversation. The farm operations are supported by a royal foundation of the Queen.

The farms earns 750,000 baht (around $23,200) a year from sales of agricultural produce and animals, as well as related products such as soap made from organic fruits. It is open to farmers from other southern provinces to learn about integrated farming, organic crop cultivation and livestock development, Taweesak said, adding that the farm management also seeks to turn the farm into an attraction for agro-tourism.

New techniques include organic farming with a minimum of chemical fertilisers or special animal feed, which reduces costs for farmers and thus increases their revenue. Likewise, farmers are also taught to hold chicken freely which usually leads to a higher yield of eggs.

“Challenges are to convince farmers to reduce chemicals and encourage organic farming,” Taweesek said. “Of course many of them still use chemical fertilisers, but we tell them that organic farming improves the environment and is also beneficial to their own and their families’ health.”

Some 4,000 visitors from the region come to Taweesak’s farm per year to learn farming techniques or improve their knowledge, he said, adding that “our goals are to develop and improve their living conditions, as well as their health by teaching them efficient techniques, including organic farming, and eventually make them self-sufficient and also show them how to manage adverse weather conditions that lead to floods or droughts.”

Thai model farm_Arno Maierbrugger

 

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