Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to this meeting.
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is organizing the launch of a preparatory project. The main objective of this project is to formulate a FAO technical assistance project on zoning for food and non food agricultural production that contributes to strengthening of national food energy security and to keep Thailand as a net food exporting country.
The main outcome of this important component of the programme shall assist with the formulation and implementation of the strategy and provide guidelines for the creation of management plan(s) for optimal utilization of natural resources and inputs to produce food and non food crops, obtain benefits, and meet national requirements.
The establishment of the multi agency policy framework is supported by the establishment of the Agri-Ecological Zoning (AEZ) for Thailand. The availability of the National AEZ through the Land Resources Information System (LRIS) contributes directly to the formulation of sound policy options for sustainable management and use of natural resources. FAO through the Technical Cooperation Project Facility (TCPF) project is providing technical assistance in achieving the overall objectives. In this context the FAO Agro-Ecological Zoning methodology and tools customized to the national requirements becomes instrumental to the above mentioned objectives. FAO methodology and tools are applied to a number of similar applications in member countries.
The assessment, monitoring and decision support tools are fundamental in producing reliable decision support products. Such tools are used to create land cover and land cover change assessments; monitoring of natural resources use, including agricultural land, forest and fisheries resources as fundamental inputs to sound policy formulated for national and regional sustainable development and management.
Our discussions during this workshop will focus on review project requirements and TCP, including the presentation on FAO methodology and tools related to the National Agri-Ecological Zoning (NAEZ), the establishment of Land Resources Information Management Systems (LRIMS), land cover and land cover change mapping toolbox to assist with the Zoning for Food and Non Food agricultural production in the framework of addressing national food energy security and sustainable development requirements.
Most of the Mekong Basin countries have already experience implementing FAO methodologies and tools in land cover mapping projects and there are many institutions in Thailand using the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) to facilitate standardisation among various national efforts.
The main objective of this meeting is to launch the preparatory project for formulation of the project proposal for Zoning for Food and Non-Food Agricultural Production based on national policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the needs of the Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE), the Natural Resources and Food Security. The draft proposal includes assessment and identification of key requirements in a multi agency policy framework, identification and engagements of stakeholders, main analysis, functionality and reporting requirements.
FAO hopes that the establishment of the Zoning for Food and Non Food agricultural production facility will contribute to strengthen the national food energy security and to keep Thailand as a net food exporting.
I am very happy to see many people interested in participating in this project. I very much look forward to work together and I do hope that this workshop will be successful in developing this collaboration.