Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Thailand celebrates agricultural cooperatives

Three-day festive event marks World Food Day

Thailand celebrates agricultural cooperatives
Thai agriculture and cooperatives officials and the head of FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific open a 3-day festival celebrating National World Food Day.

Bangkok, 15 Nov 2012 -- Thailand is celebrating National World Food Day (WFD) with a festive event at Lan Khon Mueng, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Dinsor Road in Bangkok running from 14 – 16 November. The event features 96 agricultural cooperative booths selling Thai produce and products like rice, bananas, pineapples, fish and fruit crisps and locally produced skincare and hand woven silk and cotton products. This year’s WFD theme is Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to feeding the world.

Last night’s opening performance featured traditional Thai drummers and dancers reflecting rural farm life in Thailand. Speaking at the opening ceremony were: Peeraphong Sai-Chue, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Somchai Charnnarongkul, Director-General of Cooperatives Promotion Department, Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific (ADG/RR), Chavalit Chookajorn, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) and Yukol Limlamthong, Minister of MOAC.

MOAC Minister Yukol Limlamthong presented gifts to participants and FAO ADG/RR presented participants with engraved plaques commemorating WFD 2012.

In his remarks FAO ADG/RR Konuma said: Thailand has achieved remarkable progress in alleviating hunger and contributing to global and regional food security as a Kitchen of the World.

Indeed, Thailand’s undernourishment rate stood at 7.3 percent, much lower than the majority of countries in Asia. “On the other hand, additional efforts are needed to achieve zero hunger such as promoting targeted social safety nets to the most vulnerable people, increasing agricultural productivity, adaptation of agriculture to climate changes, enhancing food safety and quality control and reducing food waste, harmonizing food security and bioenergy development, and empowering farmer organizations including cooperatives and rural youth initiatives.

“I believe we can achieve the zero hunger target and contribute to the world in attaining the MDG 1 hunger goal by year 2015, if we are united together through a strong advocacy, solidarity and partnership.”

Farmers play a very important part in reaching the zero hunger target. Small-scale farmers are the main providers of food in many countries around the world, but they are also among the world’s poorest people. Cooperatives help small farmers overcome these constraints. As the theme of this year’s WFD proclaims: they are key to feeding the world.

Earlier, a drawing competition for elementary and secondary school students was held at the FAO booth. Drawings were inspired by the WFD theme. The drawings, by 44 students from seven different schools, were judged on colour scheme, drawing skill, creativity and composition by current and retired FAO staff members. There were six winners – first, second and third prizes for both elementary and secondary school levels and they each received a certificate and a trophy from FAO ADG/RR Konuma, or Permanent Secretary Chookajorn.

Following the opening ceremony, participants toured the many cooperative booths in the square facing the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

World Food Day marks the founding of the FAO on 16 October 1945 in Quebec, Canada.