The Achievement of Multi-stakeholder Dialogue towards Sustainable Food Systems and Warm Gathering of Hope
the multi-stakeholder dialogue has been 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 the direction of food sustainability.
The dialogue started by 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 millions rai (1 rai = 1.6 square km.) of conventional agriculture into organic/sustainable practices are envisioned for 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 following;
- Conservation and rehabilitating of the environment and natural resources
- Managing supply chain to conform to the character of production areas and market demand from the highest and the lowest of the value chain
- Promoting cooperative formation of producers
- Enhancing accessibility of new technologies and innovations
- Increasing economic value on agricultural products
- Taking seriously on the organic movement in actions
- Promoting and expanding of sufficiency economy agriculture
- Promoting of Thailand’s agricultural master plan for sustainable agriculture
- Developing 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.
The world cafe session began right after the research presentation. The topic of “What are challenges for increasing 15 millions Rais of organic farming in producers, consumers, and marketing aspects?” was risen. The participants were asked to divide into groups and to brainstorm. The representative from each group illustrated the result of the first question which showed that farmers are facing 4 issues; knowledge, labour, land, capital. For example, they lack of organic farming method knowledge and are unaware of the chemical use in cultivation including unconfident of non-chemical agriculture. In addition, the number of farm workers decrease as young generation move to cities for better opportunities. Hence, their farmlands were bought by investors and transformed to residential properties. The abandoned farmlands are for conventional cultivation for serving the main stream market which causes environmental problems such as water pollution, soil degradation, and climate change.
Two research papers that made 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 farmer showed that organic farming can bring better circumstances of wellbeing for small-scale farmers than conventional farming that uses lots of chemical inputs. Moreover, the paper of Loss of farmland occupying by informal debts and loan sharks illustrated Thai farmer situation of being in debt. Indebtedness of individual farmers is not only bringing people into unhealthy economic condition, but also forces farmers to sell their land property for paying debt. Therefore, losing of farmland can affect to career and livelihood of Thai farmer as well.