Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Model farmer from Thailand honoured at the Asia-Pacific World Food Day celebration

Thailand, 18 Oct 2004 -- Bangkok – Today, the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok has issued awards to five outstanding farmers from the Asia-Pacific Region. The farmers received the awards from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn during the 2004 World Food Day celebration in Bangkok.

Below please find the citation used during the ceremony to highlight the achievements of the farmer from Thailand.

Marasri Singsawak – rice farmer, Thailand

“A meal without rice isn’t really a meal,’’ says Khun Marasri Singsawak, a tall and dignified 58 year old woman from a small village in northern Utaradit province in Thailand. As a young farm girl in Wang-din subdistrict, she accompanied her parents as they lent their neighbors a helping hand whenever needed. They taught her to value education and remain open to new ideas. They also taught her to respect tradition. “Don’t neglect the land,’’ they said.

She was the first farmer in her village to grow Mali Rice 105, a hearty and fragrant strain once grown only in the northeast. On her 5 hectares of land, she was among the first to initiate an integrated farming system advocated by HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in which rice farmers also grow fruits and vegetables, and raise fish and livestock, so that each family is self-sufficient. She has led others in her community to shun pesticides and chemical fertilizers in favor of more organic farming methods that are sustainable and better for the environment.

But as successful as she has been as a farmer, it’s as much what she gives back to her community that makes Khun Marasri a model for others. She has been a leader in helping to establish a community rice mill and a food conservation programme. She campaigned for Thailand’s new constitution, established a community savings group, was president of the women’s development group and has worked with the disabled and the elderly.

Khun Marasri says she wants her children to have a better life than she had. Although her son and two daughters have graduated from college, it’s hard to imagine that they could have lives that are more meaningful. FAO is therefore awarding Marasri Singsawak for outstanding achievement in rice farming.

RAP 04/35E

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