Before the end of the year, a multi-stakeholder dialogue was organized on 16th December 2015 at Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University. This was a great opportunity for multi-stakeholders on food systems in Thailand to exchange and discuss towards on the direction of food sustainability.
The dialogue started with talking of the state representative, Ms. Ladawan Kumpa, Deputy Secretary, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board in the development plan to cover 15 million rai (1 rai = 1.6 square km.) of conventional agriculture into organic/sustainable practices are in Thailand. Because of growing demands of organic foods in world markets, the next national development plan (2017-2021)aims to reach 10 primary developments for organic farms and food security as followed;
- Conservation and rehabilitation of the environment and natural resources
- Managing the supply chain to conform to the character of production areas and market demand from the highest and the lowest in the value chain
- Promoting cooperative formation of producers
- Enhancing accessibility of new technologies and innovations
- Increasing economic value of agricultural products
- Taking seriously the organic movement in actions
- Promoting and expanding sufficiency economy agriculture
- Promoting Thailand’s agricultural master plan for sustainable agriculture
- Developing a database of agricultural demands and supplies
- Capacity building on human resources in agricultural sectors
Other stakeholders from BioThai, (NGO networks), Farmer Council of Chantaburi Province, Burirum Local Wisdom and Pranda Jewelry Company (Private sectors) discussed continually to possibility for organic agriculture expansion in Thailand.
In the afternoon session, TOA partners; Keam Makarady (Cambodia), Sonam Tashi (Bhutan), Phukhumm (Laos) discussed strategies of organic farming in the Mekong region and Bhutan from their experiences. Two resear chpapers from the Alternative Agriculture Networks (Thailand) and Local Act Links were presented after discussion. A World Café session in the afternoon focused on two open questions for brainstorming;
- What are barriers for increasing 15 million rai of organic farming from producers,consumer, and marketing aspects?
- What are our visions for a Sustainable Food System at local, national, and international levels?
Additionally, two research papers by TOA partners;Alternative Agriculture Network and Local Action Links, were presented in the dialogue. The paper of comparative study of organic small-scale farming and non-organic small-scale farming: the case study of Thai farmers showed that organic farming can bring better circumstances of wellbeing for small-scale farmers than conventional farming that uses heavily on inputs.
Moreover, the paper on Loss of Farmland through informal debt and sharks loan illustrated Thai farmer situations of Indebtedness. Indebtedness of individual farmers is not only bringing people into unhealthy economic conditions, but is also forces farmers to sell their land property for debt repayment. Therefore, farmland loss also affects the career and livelihood of Thai farmers as well.