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Vol. 24 No.4
October - December 2007

ISSN 0125-0159

Editor's Note
His Majesty the King’s Intellectual Property as a Tool of Development
Her Majesty the Queen’s Model Farms for the Secure Life of Her People
Arts & Style
The Supreme Artist Hall in Honor of the Genius King
In Focus
The Election That Return Democracy to the Nation
Reversing the Erosion of Muddy Coasts: A Breakthrough by Thai Experts
A Center for Holistic Medicine in Chiang Rai
Special Feature
PRD Museum and Archive: A Learning Center on the Early Stages of Broadcasting and Public Relations
A Greater Sense of Security on Samui Island
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Her Majesty the Queen’s Model Farms for the Secure Life of Her People

Nong Chik is a district in Thailands southern province of Pattani. It is a troubled, restive part of the far South. Local people are farmers, but violence in the region prevents them from carrying out their traditional agriculture. Although their crops grow, the people have difficulty transporting and distributing the crops. Acknowledging their problem, Her Majesty the Queen initiated and sponsored a Model Farm Project in Nong Chik. Four model farms have been developed, where local people are encouraged to work and earn money for a more secure life.

Her Majesty the Queen learned about the peoples hardship from a petition that they had written to her. The four model farms were developed in Ban Bang Khao village, Ban Nam Dam village, Khok Mud area, and Yabi area. Several state agencies contribute to their operations, including the Land Development Department, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Livestock Development, the Royal Irrigation Department, and the Royal Forest Department. At the model farms, local people are not only employed but also educated in productive and environment-friendly agriculture.

Each model farm recruits at least 30 local people as its staff. The people begin with four training sessions to learn basic agriculture. The training by local agricultural authorities includes soil preparation for cultivation, harvesting the crops, and crop storage. With this knowledge, the participating people can work effectively at the model farms and apply the knowledge on their own farms. Apart from training, agricultural authorities also provide local people with seeds and farming equipment. The assistance is available for not only the recruited people but also local people in general.

The model farm in Ban Bang Khao village of Tambon Bang Khao subdistrict has 155 participating villagers, both Buddhists and Muslims. The farm was developed on a swamp that used to have acidic soil. The development started with the cultivation of rice, sano (Sesbania spp.), and beans to improve the nutrients and general condition of the soil. Soil is a key factor in cultivation, because fertile soil means good yields. The Ban Bang Khao model farm and the other three farms feature mixed farming, including the cultivation of crops and vegetables, fish ponds, and cattle raising.

Most areas of the farms are paddy fields, but there are also grass fields for cattle. Vegetable plantations constitute about 30 percent of the farm area. The farming is planned in a way that produces yields all year long, and middlemen usually arrive to buy products right at the model farms. Processed products are also available, including salted eggs, corn juice, and roselle juice. All products are free of toxins because the model farms adhere strictly to organic agriculture practices. Products from the farms are sold at the farms and local markets. They always sell out, as they are made available at market prices, so there are long waiting lists of buyers.

The training for local people covers not only agriculture but also accounting. Therefore, the operation of the model farms really empowers local people in ways that will help them be independent in the long run. The farms attract not only local people but also foreign visitors. Guests experience the happiness of the local people who work for the farms. Participants Yawahae Maming, Maeeyoh Wayeng, Rormegaya Puteh and Roseeda Dueramae share the view that the model farms are a good project. They have income, plus knowledge they can apply to agriculture on their own plots. At the model farms, participating villagers receive jobs that suit their personal skills. One of the participants said local people used to work at a fish canning factory located very far from their home. They feel lucky that the model farms were developed in their neighborhood because they can work near their home and generate enough income for their family every day. It is a kind of sufficiency, another participant says.

I benefit from this project. My income has risen significantly, so I have a secure life. I have a job and quit drinking. Its better to spend my time on the job instead of drinking. What is happening here has changed my life a lot. Many people improve themselves thanks to the project, said Roseeda Dueramae.

When a slit piece of bamboo is struck to signal the end of the day, participating villagers walk out of their model farms happily. Some people ride their motorcycles or take shuttle buses back home, while others chat joyfully. A long day of work and learning does not tire them at all because they can see a better future based on what they learn from the model farms.

The Model Farm Project under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen blesses local people in the southernmost area with a sustainable livelihood. It has turned the local economy around and strengthened bonds between people of different religions. The people are deeply grateful for what the Mother of the Land has done here.

Story: Suvalux Khenkum
Photos: Apichai Suananantapoom

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