Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

Address

by

Hiroyuki Konuma
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific

delivered at the

Terminal Workshop of the TCP Emergency Project: 
Emergency Assistance to Support the Recovery of Agriculture Livelihoods Systems of Flood Affected Farmers in Thailand


 Dusit Princess Korat Hotel, Nakhorn Ratchasima Province
21 July 2011

    

Excellency,
Representatives of Nakorn Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Phichit, and UthaiThani Province
Representatives of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
Representatives of Chaipattana Foundation
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of FAO, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Governor of Nakhorn Ratchasima Province, and all those who have contributed to the terminal workshop of this project, “Emergency Assistance to Support the Recovery of agriculture Livelihoods Systems of flood affected farmers” today. 

After nearly 8 months of operations, it came to an end. Indeed, we are very grateful to everyone including those from the MOAC, Provincial Government, Tambon Administration and beneficial farmers for their efforts and partnership with FAO to lead the success in this project. 

The aim of this terminal workshop is to share experience and opinions on project activities of this project among each participant from 4 provinces and key stakeholders for the future improvement of agriculture practices, preparedness and overall cooperation between central and local government and FAO.  Your active contribution on presentation and discussions are highly appreciated.

While reviewing various report, I now noted that the role of women in agriculture is significant.

Situation
• Rice cultivation (large portion in rain fed) with mixed livestock product (poultry, etc.) is a common farming system with mono cropping of rice (83 percent).
• Size of household is rather small with 3-5 members per family, with small size of land of 8-10 rai (1.2-1.5 hector) per household.
• Many of farmers use hired labours (60-90 percent) and majority of farmers are indebt with loan.

Problem
• They faced production problems due to lack of quality seeds, insufficient quantity of fertilizer, outbreak of plant and animal diseases, and most apparently frequent occurrence of natural disasters (especially mono cropping is vulnerable).
• Post harvest losses of over 11 percent due to rats.

Project activities
• The project, under above conditions and constraints, provided emergency assistance to flood affected farmers with 50 kgs of quality rice seeds and 100 kgs of chemical fertilizers per farm household to support affected farmers to recover from the losses and assist them in resuming farming activities to meet the production season.
• I noted from the questionnaires and interviews, majority of farmers satisfied and felt useful of FAO’s assistance.
• Although over a half of farmers had to stock seeds and fertilizer till recently to meet planting season, as the timing of the distribution was not on time to meet the season in January/February.
• FAO’s assistance was not aimed at to corporate all loss of farmers, but rather to support resuming their farming activities and give moral support.
• Thus. Many farms produced additional rice seeds and fertilizers 2-3 times of the amount produced by the project (using Government cash compensation and other sources)
• Indeed, the project covered 30-60 percent of losses of farms resulted from floods damages

Further recommendations
• We need to maximize the risk of natural disasters, including changing cropping patterns and farming system, etc.
• Improve the quality of rice seeds by minimizing our regeneration at farm household level, and promote simple seed testing practices.
• Promotion of organic farming using bio-fertilizer, green nature, compost, etc.
• Minimizing post-harvest losses (11.3 percent) especially rat problems
• And most importantly, the production and distribution of agricultural inputs, should be done in more prompt manner to meet the seasonal needs.

 I am pleased to highlight the remarkable cooperation of the officials of Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE) in central, provincial, district, and tambon level and line departments of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and Chaipattana Foundation with FAO throughout eight months of the project period to attain project goal of assisting flood affected vulnerable farmers.

 I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate eager participation of government officers in central can local level from various key ministries and departments, including the participants from Nakhorn Si Thammarat Province, to our Disaster Risk Management training conducted last Month. I believe your dedicated participation to the training will be the valuable asset for the country to improve long-term resilience against disasters.  Relevant preparedness and close coordination among key institutions are the keys to develop strong agriculture sector against natural disasters such as the severe flood last year.

Lastly, I sincerely thank the concerned officials of DOAE, National FAO Committee, provincial, district, and tambon officials of the four provinces, and the officers of Chaipattana Foundation for their passion, efforts, and commitments for successful implementation of the project.

 Thank you.