Rotational Farming Exposure Visit
25-31 October 2017, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Thailand
In collaboration with Spirit in Education Movement (SEM) and Kalyanamitta Development Foundation (KMF), TOA has support to organize a 10-day Exposure Visit for 8 young farmers and community leaders from Phekon and Nyaung Shwe, Myanamr.
Nong Tao: Indigenous wisdom and culture –This community is home to one of the key spiritual leaders of the Karen people of Northern Thailand. He has been a tireless advocate for the indigenous rights of the Karen people over the past 20 years, and has been recognized as an elder and leader among the Karen community.
Huay Hin Lad Nai: Forest management, land rights and sustainable livelihoods – This community is an excellent example of protecting and managing natural resources through their traditional farming and cultural practices practices, and has become a model of biodiversity conservation and carbon neutral farming.
Key Learning Outcomes:
Firstly, as individuals, they were asked to identify their key learning, and what they plan to do on return to their community.
At an individual level, according to their reflection, they expressed the following key learning points:
- Ability to be free through self reliant use of local resources (honey and tea plantation at Huay Hin Lad Nai)
- Transmission of cultural values through generations as the foundation for maintaining sense of belonging and willingness to protect their communities
- Income generation coming from sustainably managing the existing resources rather than exploiting them
- Working with less effort through paying more attention to how natural systems work
- Being free from debt and dependence on agricultural companies
- Networking brings strength in to manage resources and uphold rights
Secondly, as a group, they were also asked to reflect what they would be able to work towards at a wider community and village tract level.
- Increase community collaboration, sharing learning between each village regularly
- Mapping 4 villages in upper Phekon – for community forest (exists but not legally), and land management, in order to solve land issues
- Networking with academics and other networks, groups with same interests
Overall, the visit was extremely successful and has given key youth eco-farmers the motivation to look beyond their own families, and understand an holistic community approach to self reliance. The Phekon project area under KMF will continue to be supported by KMF, but in a backstopping capacity rather than implementation of activities. Therefore, follow up will continue through existing KMF staff in order to ensure that these traditional upland communities are strengthened to face external challenges and increase their own self reliance through sustainable income generation relating to the management of their local resources.