Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this important regional advocacy workshop for the regional programme for participatory and integrated agriculture, forestry and fisheries development for long-term rehabilitation and development in tsunami-affected areas.
This project started on 1 September 2006 to help peoples in 2004 Tsunami affected areas in Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand as a five-year project by contribution made by the Government of Japan through FAO RAP. During the past four years, we have made number of activities in our target sites in the four countries, based primarily on the needs of peoples living there. In the early stage of the project, the project activities have placed rather disproportionate to awareness raising and coastal tree planting, and a little efforts were made on development parts. The project is now in the last stage of implementation, and I would like the distinguished participants to participate the project activities in a positive manner ever than before.
The project has ever organized two regional workshops, however, the participants in the workshops were limited predominantly to the central governments and partly to local governments, and no direct stakeholders were invited. I mentioned about the participating countries in the project including Thailand, however, the activities in Thailand were completed with success. Therefore, the significance of the workshop of this time is inviting direct stakeholders to participate and let them exchange information each other and learn from best practices in Thailand for making the activities in the rest of the participating countries better for the peoples living there. For the distinguished participants from the local governments, I would like to ask their support for the peoples in our project sites to make our project activities sustainable even after finish of the project life.
This workshop prepares three-full-day field visits in Phang Nga and Phuket provinces. The visits include not only for our project sites but also for community activities after Tsunami, women’s groups, agro-processing, home gardens and so on for showing the distinguished participants to help to draw pictures of their own activities under the project in the near future. There is a saying like ‘seeing is believing’, so I would like the distinguished participants to observe the reality and to gain tips for further development as many as possible. I also really wish the distinguished participants to share what you will have gained here with other stakeholders in the target sites on your return back home.
Nowadays, agriculture and fisheries can not be away from value chain and marketing. We can no more reply only on production activities, but have always kept in mind about how to sell the products or catches. As you have observed, Phuket is one of the best tourist places in Thailand, and so the peoples here have some advantages in their marketing activities. However, we can not survive without eating something, tourist places are not only the marketing opportunities for you. I sincerely hope that tips to be given in this workshop would contribute for you to find ways to improve your quality of life.
I wish you a fruitful and successful workshop. I hereby declare the workshop open.