Author Topic: Help on the way for organic farmers  (Read 1171 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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Help on the way for organic farmers
« on: September 07, 2010, 06:24:43 AM »
AGRICULTURE

Help on the way for organic farmers

Organic farmers or those aspiring to make the change now have more opportunities to obtain expert advice through the Industrial Technology Assistance Programme (ITAP).


Several plants and animals are raised in a pond for harmonised ecology.

The unit of the National Science and Technology Development Agency has spent the past year accumulating knowledge and developing technical capacity and is now ready to offer consulting services, said Phongchai Jittamai, the manager of the project.

He said ITAP aimed to have at least 30 organic farms apply for its integrated organic farm services nationwide within this year.

The agency is interested in particular in helping small and medium-sized farm operators who have struggled financially because of overuse of chemicals and pesticide, he added.

ITAP has been working with Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) since 2008 to develop expertise in the organic farm business in Thailand. Last year the university developed a laboratory with field tests and opened a pilot organic farm project in Nakhon Ratchasima.

"We have seen small farm operators suffering for a long time, either from business losses or getting ill from overuse of chemicals and pesticides. They must turn to organic practices in doing business," said Dr Phongchai.

ITAP also worked with the Thai Organic Trade Association to provide support to organic farm product suppliers.

"We have encouraged small farmers through agricultural co-operatives to use our services starting with durian and mangosteen growers' groups in Chanthaburi," Dr Phongchai said.

Up to 70% of total project cost is being financed by ITAP and the rest by co-operatives.

According to the Bank of Thailand, organic farms in Thailand produced 5,336 tonnes of products worth about 300 million baht on 16,500 rai, but demand in the market is ten times higher.

Conventional farming has created demand for chemical and pesticide imports worth more than 30 billion baht a year _ excluding the expense for treatment of illnesses caused by chemicals and pesticides.

Prices of organic farm produce are 30% higher than for conventional products, but an increasing number of consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for healthier food.

Ang Tiemsamrong, a member of the Lam Prapleung Agricultural Co-operatives in Nakhon Ratchasima, invested 358,000 baht last year to change from conventional rice farming to organic and integrated farming. His work was supported by ITAP and the co-operatives.

His cost of fertiliser and pesticides was cut to zero from more than 30,000 baht per crop year earlier while he was able to double his rice price to 15 baht per kilogramme. He also earned an extra 12,000 baht a month from sales of organic vegetables.

"This does not include lower expenses for treatment of illnesses from the overuse of chemicals and pesticides," he said.

He now has savings after years of financial losses and debt.

Bangkok Post

sicho

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Re: Help on the way for organic farmers
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 01:33:56 PM »
Keeping the the organic taste of the opening post, it's all bull sh!t.

The government will pay a gang of university kids with laptops to go around in a minibus telling farmers how to suck eggs organically. They will offer approved status to farmers who spend a lot of money jumping through hoops (made from natural fibre of course) to prove that their produce is organically grown. The products will, therefore, be expensive and no-one will buy them. The theorist university types, who probably have never turned a sod, will disappear at that point because the government is clueless about marketing expensive products. 

 



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