Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

ADDRESS

by

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative
for Asia and the Pacific

at the

Ceremony for handing over inputs of emergency assistance
(TCP/THA/2805 and OSRO/THA/201/ITA)

12 September 2003




Khun Charerm Prasertkul, Provincial Secretary and acting Governor,
Khun Pinit Korsieporn, Assistant Secretary-General of the National FAO Committee
and Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives,
Khun Montri Thaworn, Director of Phitsnuloke Provincial Agriculture and Cooperative Office,
Government Officers
Farmers, Friends
Guests of honour,

It is my great pleasure to be here with you this afternoon for the ceremony of handing over inputs to the flood affected farmers of the tropical storms Kammuri and Vong Fong which caused flooding and landslides in many northern provinces last year. Phitsanuloke province was severely affected, with 814 000 rai (130 240 ha) of farmland damaged, followed by Phichit and Sukhothai provinces. Rice farms were the most seriously affected.

The ministry of agriculture and cooperatives requested FAO’s assistance for the farmers of the three provinces most affected and FAO through its Regional Office for the Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok responded timely to this request. In addition to FAO’s own financial support, the Government of Italy agreed to provide assistance to the affected farmers through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the amount of 150 000 euros. Two projects together funded a total amount of about B17 million, with the objective of the projects was to help farmers in Phitsanuloke, Phichit and Sukhothai provinces to quickly recover from their losses due to the damage caused by the disasters, and to provide them with food security and income.

The projects have provided emergency supplies of agricultural inputs in the form of rice, sesame, corn, chili, eggplant and marigold flower seeds, scions of mango, jackfruits, jasmine flowers and N-P-K fertilizer; livestock inputs in the form of swine piglets, swine feeds, swine drugs, native chicken breeders, chicken feed, chicken vaccines and other animal drugs; and fisheries inputs in the form of fish fingerlings and fish feeds.

Procurement of the inputs was carried out by the FAO regional office in Bangkok. The quality of the inputs was inspected and certified. The inputs were delivered by FAO to the director of the provincial agriculture and cooperative office, and delivered to the identified beneficiaries by the concerned district officers.

I should like to express FAO’s gratitude to the provincial and district officers who assisted the delivery of inputs to the farmers. In this opportunity, I also whish to convey my sincere gratitude to the concerned officials of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and three FAO national consultants for their cooperation for the successful implementation of the projects.

Assistance from the FAO and Italian Trust Fund projects has provided inputs to 7 790 farmers. I would like to invite all of the flood affected farmers who receive the inputs to use them effectively for food production and income generation. And work for a sustainable future for your families, village and communities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I conclude, I should like to emphasize the importance of adequate measures for the prevention of future such disasters. Natural disasters quite often are caused not only by nature, but also through the impact of human activities. The cases in point are land slides caused by deforestation of the land area where the storms occur. I am thus advocating that agricultural activities in the flooded areas be adjusted in order to minimize future calamities of this type and ensure more sustainable environmental and agricultural practices. Also, in this connection, I am calling for efforts on preventive measures and building a resilient society, which is the only way to effectively mitigate natural disasters.

Thank you.