Enhance the quality of life and food safety through microbial innovation
Land Development Department

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Thailand is an agricultural country and most areas require conservation of soil and water, lack soil improvement, and use intensive farming to produce the highest yield to feed the increasing population with a lack of fertile soil, with low mounts of organic matter and nutrients in the soil. In many areas, soil organic matter is less than 1 percent below the soil standard (2-3% is suitable). The problem of land degradation and unfertile soil reduces crop yield and farmers income. In order to increase crop yield, farmers use a lot of chemical fertilizer and pesticides but they are still poor. These causes contamination of agricultural products which directly affects not only farmers and consumers, but has an adverse impact on the soil properties including currency out and food security of Thailand. The Land Development Department mentioned that there is agricultural waste, and garbage of approximately 72.45, 12.05million ton/year respectively. Improper waste management such as burning, landfill and dumping causes diseases, pollution, greenhouse gases and global warming. These problems have an impact not only locally but also a global level. The Land Development Department pointed that the deoritonating area of unfertile soil and low plant nutrient content covered approximately 36 million hectares or about 70% of total area. In 2011 Kasetsart University pointed out that the average rice yield before and after using microbial activators are about 2,995 and 3,600 kg per hectare, respectively the increasing rate is about 20.87%. Similarly, with the agronomic crop the increase is about 23.73% from 69,194 up to 85,615 kg per hectare, respectively. The average household income is less than US $1,000-1,700 month. The Ministry of Public Health reported health problems that in the year 1997-2002, farmers who are the risk of exposure to pesticides increased form 15.96 percent up to 29.14 percent. This has an effect on the farmers’ lack of social opportunities, foreign trade deficit of US $ 83 million per year, loss of opportunity for food competition at international level. Finally, it caused environmental problems.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Firstly, Land Development Department started the project “Enhance the Quality of Life and Food Safety Through Microbial Innovation” by researching and developing an effective native microbial activator and by changing the attitude of the farmer to use organic fertilizers, bio-extracts instead of chemical fertilizer and reduce toxic chemical substances since 1986. Thailand is a tropical country, so there is a lot of biodiversity. Therefore, Land Development Department started to select the most effective native microorganisms in the North, South, West, East and Northern-East of Thailand as well as test these microorganisms in laboratories and in the field. From 1986-2002, Land Development Department had two successful microbial activator and knowledge bases. Microbial activator Super LDD1 is a group of effective native microorganisms to decompose crop residues that consist of decomposition components to reduce the decomposition time. This process normally takes approximately one month compared to using microbial activator Super LDD1 that takes only 1-2 month. Microbial activator Super LDD2 is a group of effective native microorganisms that can accurately ferment and digest organic waste such as residue from fruit, vegetable, fish and organic garbage for producing bio-extracts. The Department set the reducing chemical substance group and volunteer soil doctor group and provided training course data and knowledge management on soil biotechnology and mass media including demonstration sites as well as microbial products in each province. There are local staff to monitor microbial activator Super LDD1 and microbial activator Super LDD2. The local staff obtains feedback from the farmers and let the head office know of any problems concerning the efficiency of microbial products. The staff in The Division of Soil Biotechnology, which is located in the head office, will improve microbial innovation in the laboratory and field test it to fit the needs of uses year by year. Recently, farmers are widely using the microbial product and we can see compost piles in the field, instead of burning agricultural waste in rice paddy fields.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Since 1986, LDD has imported the effective microorganism “B2” from Japan for making compost. The Land Development Department created the policy to research and develop our own native effective microorganism to replace “B2” because Thailand has more biodiversity. So, Land Development Department has selected the highest effective native microorganisms for degrading of agricultural waste and garbage from households, communities and markets to produce compost and bio-extract. Two microbial products have been produced and developed through cognitive base knowledge. The knowledge management and dissemination of information by gathering information from the research to analyze and synthesize information both internal and external factors (SWOT Analysis). To prepare documents and media formats to publish and broadcast by creating a network of transmission systems, including the network of volunteer soil doctors (farmers that have been trained in cognitive development of the land). Volunteer soil doctors’ work as representatives of land development department official in province, district and sub-district and village level. Transferring knowledge through the group of farmers is using organic substances to reduce use of agricultural chemical substances.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Promoting farmers’ use of manure and liquid bio-fertilizers via LDD products for increasing soil fertility, decreasing deteriorated soil and increasing income. Decrease agricultural waste and global worming crisis. There are two strategies: 1. Research and development of effective microorganism products by implementation between local and regional researchers and transferring technology to farmers. Use of focus groups and evaluation for improvement, more effective microorganism products and use of agricultural waste. 2. Transfer technology by knowledge management to 73,000 organic agriculture groups (3.6 million farmers, 73 million rai) and volunteer soil doctors who are interested in soil sustainability and are willing to be volunteers of Land Development Department to coordinate between farmers and government officials, to promote better public relations. Now, there are 78,000 volunteer soil doctors over the whole country. This project was initiated in 1985. Land Development Department solves deteriorated soil by increasing organic matter. 1983-1986, survey agricultural waste and industrial agricultural waste. It was found that, there was huge agricultural waste and industrial agricultural waste so LDD launched the project and encouraged farmers to use compost to increase soil fertility and decrease use of chemical fertilizers. 1983-1985, set the project of research and development microbial activator LDD 1, this activator is a group of high efficient microorganisms to decompose crop residue.1986, lunch microbial activator LDD 1 and promote to farmers. 2001, set the project of microbial activator LDD 2 for digesting organic waste. 2002, lunch microbial activator LDD 2 and promote to farmers. 2002-2006, receive the weak point of microbial activator LDD 1 and microbial activator LDD 2 that can’t digest lipids. 2007, there are two inventions for improving microbial activator LDD 1 and microbial activator LDD 2 that call microbial activator super LDD 1 and microbial activator supper LDD 2. 2007, technology transfer, training government official once a year and training volunteer soil doctors twice a year. Setting 2,400 Land Development learning centers and 78 one stop service centers, which including books, brochures and microbial activator LDD products.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The development of microbial activator super LDD 1 and microbial activator super LDD 2 of Land Development Department enhances to resolve deteriorated soil and agricultural waste material problems for accomplishment the purposes of the action. There are three stakeholders to implement of the objectives. They are including, first, the director of Land Development Department, who determines policy and budget support. Second, the director of the research project and land development researchers, who invented and encouraged LDD innovations. Finally, organic farmer groups who produced organic agriculture to reduce the use of chemicals and the soil doctor volunteer networks that promoted and publicized the services of The Land Development Department.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
There were four resources that contributed to mobilizing the initiative, Firstly, financial resource: budgets, US$ 120,568 for buying chemical substance, transportation, staff allowance in laboratories and the field for research and development to get the two product of microbial activator. The government provided the budget of approximately 1,650,000 us$ per year for making 3,000,000 packs of microbial activator per year and 1,170,000 us$ per year for making microbial activator Super LDD2. Second, human resources of Land Development Department, the director of Land Development Department created the policy and found budgets. The expertise writes the proposal of the research and development and gave consultation to the researcher. Thirdly, Local research transferred knowledge to farmers and finally volunteer soil doctors gave knowledge to other farmers.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Land Development Department got the most effective native microbial innovation in Thailand that can be produced by themselves (microbial activator Super LDD1 and microbial activator Super LDD 2). Land Development Department produces microbial activator Super LDD1 about 3,000,000 packs/year and they can produce compost of 3,000,000 ton/year and database compost knowledge management in Thailand as well as reduce agricultural waste by approximately 3,000,000 ton/year. The Department produced 2,5000,000 package/year of microbial activator Super LDD2 and 125,000,000 lit/year of bio-extract and decreased garbage and kitchen waste by 75,000 ton/year as well as the database knowledge management of bio-extract in Thailand and we also increase group of Volunteer soil doctor from 50,000 to 73,000.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring and evaluating project implementation according to project planning including laboratory and field trials. 1) Report on the progress of research and supervise a planned follow-up action including discussion meetings and seminars. 2) Testing the effectiveness of microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 in the field around Thailand with economic crops through local researchers. 3) Understanding the feedback of using microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 in the field, brain storming to solve the problem and improve microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2. 4) Quality control products before broadcasting. Microbial activator products must contain bacteria not less than 107 and fungi not less than 105. The combinations of both must more than 1010 and they are not dangerous to humans and animals. 5) Broadcasting microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 via 77 Land Development Stations and analyze the feedback of farmers that use microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2. We found that microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 are very popular not only in group of farmers but the general public also love LDD products due to the over demand of microbial activator as compared with the target product that the government provided. 6) After microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 was launched. Land Development Department developed two different workshops. Firstly, to train government officials to effectively utilize microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 with a strong emphasis on hands-on training. Secondly, a more in-deep training course was developed for volunteer soil doctors, Knowledge of utilization of microbial activator Super LDD1 and Super LDD2 was transferred from government officials to farmers through a volunteer soil doctors training program. This training appears to be successful in that the volunteer soil doctors have an ability to transfer knowledge and technology to all farmers for the great beneficial of implementation. 7) Encouraged farmers to continue using microbial activator Super LDD1 to make compost and Super LDD2 for liquid bio fertilizer driven by land development department officials and volunteer soil doctors. Analyze and discuss ideas between volunteer soil doctors, farmers and officials to understand the problems that lead to solutions to common problems. 8) Strengthening of farmers participating in the project by officials evaluate the initial results for the farmer groups. The evaluation is divided into four grade levels, Grade A is driven groups by 70-100 %, Grade B is driven groups by 40-69 %, Grade C is driven groups by 15 to 39 % and Grade D is driven groups by 0-14 %. Evaluation of the project External agencies evaluated the project for the Land Development Department by questionnaires and interview surveys of the volunteer soil doctors, farmers and network. The data was analyzed and synthesis in qualitative and quantitative. Then, the summary of project was developed to appropriate guidelines and a prototype for transferring and extending to farmers. The results from monitoring and evaluation of the project indicated that before the innovation starting, farmers did not produce compost and bio-extract from organic waste. They used chemical fertilizers and agricultural chemicals. Innovation of effective microorganisms were promoted, farmers changed attitudes to adoption of organic fertilizers and organic substances. The evaluation knowledge of farmer from training was 93.10% of farmers brought knowledge to practice and 83.30% transferring to other farmers.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacle encountered of microbial innovation utilization for food safety was changing the attitude of farmers from using chemical fertilizers and agricultural chemicals used in organic fertilizers and organic substances. We solved this problem by developing the knowledge of farmers using organizing training of production and utilization organic fertilizers and organic substances, establishing demonstration plots and the land development learning center in different areas such as district and sub-district and land development along the sufficient economic learning center as a total of 2,400 centers across the country. Another obstacle was limiting the number of government officers to access the farmers thoroughly. We solved this problem by strengthening farmer’s volunteers called Soil doctors in all villages. Soil doctors assist LDD officials. They received training and knowledge of land development from officials and transfer knowledge to the farmers in the area to expand nationwide.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Land Development Department created microbial innovation and encouraged farmers to use decomposition agricultural waste and garbage to produce compost and bio-extract. Waste management reduced the amount of waste that impacted on the environment. The innovation and transferring technology has resulted in benefits to farmers for food safety production. Moreover, farmers have better health. Including Land Development Department, Thailand and global benefitted from the outcome of the project. Quantitative achievements were improving soil fertility from 0.8 million hectare in 2011 to 1.17 million hectare in 2013 and convincing farmers to change their attitude to using organic fertilizers by replacing with chemical fertilizers and it was also found that, the group of farmers who willing to use Land Development Department’s microbial innovation increased from 50,000 groups in 2011 to 73,000 groups in 2013. Although the density of nutrients in compost and liquid bio fertilizer that make from effective microorganism is comparatively modest, they have many advantages. Compost carries organic matter plant nutrients in various concentrations and functions as a fertilizer for improving soil properties (physical, chemical and biological) such as improved soil structure, aeration, water holding increasing nutrient absorption, pH buffering, plant nutrient source (macro, micro and trace element) and is also a source of carbon and energy of microorganism. Compost utilization with amount of soil organic matter increased, covering an area of 18.75 million hectares per year. Soil organic matter increased from 1.0 percent to 1.2 percent. Household income for farmers increased 29.21 percent. The average income per month increased from 166-333 dollars to 215-382 dollars. The illness and death of farmers from the use of agricultural chemicals decreased. From 2001 to 2005, it decreased from 2,635 cases to 1,321 cases. The reduction of utilization of chemical fertilizers in Thailand was 1.765 million tons per year at a value of 21,184 million per year. The reduction of utilization of agricultural chemicals was 21.84 million liters per year at a value of 7,644 million per year. Reduction the amount of waste from agriculture, processing of agricultural industry and garbage was 3.075 million tons per year. Quantity of compost production was 3 million tons per year which improving soil fertility 18.75 million hectares. Quantity of bio-extract production was 125 million liters per year. Agricultural land use in promoting the growth of the plant was 156.25 million hectares. Disposal of waste for compost and bio-extract helps to solve the problem of burning waste that causing pollution and global warming. Quality achievements included the participation between farmers and consumers in the food safety solutions. Farmers, who were producer and consumers, are satisfied with the health and safety at the highest level. Farmers have created a network to exchange knowledge and experiences between the group and the network expansion across the country.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
1. Land Development Department created the policy to organize reduction of chemical substance groups. There are 50 farmers per group that were trained by the government official to improve soil fertility through understanding how to make compost and liquid bio fertilizer. After their group is strong enough, they can manage by themselves such as shareholders, training how to make compost and liquid bio fertilizer. They make compost and use in their group. If they can produce more compost, they sell. They also transfer this technology to local farmers that are an implementation between government officials and farmers. Strong farmers were selected by Land Development Department and set the learning center and held demonstrations in their village. 2. Best practice of this project is a volunteer soil doctor from Nakhonsithammarat province, the southern part of Thailand who can improve Zalacca quality by using compost and liquid bio fertilizer. The quality of this fruit is sweeter than normal agricultural practice. It was namely “Talin Sala” and it has 5 stars OTOP. This fruit is very popular and they can sell with the highest price. They also expanded their farm from 1 hectare to 50 hectares. The second best successful model is a group of volunteer soil doctor from Lamae’s Chumphon province, they changed the way of growing oil palm with use of chemicals to soil improvement by using compost and liquid bio fertilizer. They made high quality compost with new formula by adding microbial activator Super LDD3 (a group of antagonistic microorganisms which control and inhibit plant pathogens.) mixed with liquid bio fertilizer that is made from fish. This high quality compost can increase plant growth and oil palm production. They can replace chemical fertilizer. The small fertilizer plant was contributed after this group success to use the high quality compost in oil palm field and is well known by other farmers. Now, there are 400 members of Lamae’s group and this area became a model for growing oil palm. 3. Land Development Department not only transferred effective microorganism technology to Thai farmers but we also transferred this technology and knowledge to other nations such as Bhutan, France and other countries in the Asian region.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The lessons learned from the development of Super LDD1 and 2 Innovations consist of: 1) Integrated working patterns between central researchers in laboratory level and provincial area researchers in local area level who enhance the research from laboratory results to be knowledge for public to farmers by various media. Learning from local wisdom, the rural areas of Thailand is enriched with local wisdom and biological diversity accumulated from generations to generations. After microbial activator Super LDD1 and microbial activator Super LDD2 was distributed, farmers in the rural area made compost and liquid bio fertilizer by using microbial activator Super LDD1 and microbial activator Super LDD2. They also created a new recipe, for example, they mixed local vegetable and ripened fruit with microbial activator Super LDD2 and used as a liquid bio fertilizer. They found that this liquid bio fertilizer is very effective, it can increase plant growth and is a high quality product, but they don’t know why it works? All samples of liquid bio fertilizer were collected by local government and sent to a laboratory in the center. Plant growth hormones such as Gibellin Cytokinins and Oxin were extracted. After that, scientists sent the results back to local government and they explained the results to farmers. Then a booklet and CD were created on the knowledge of local wisdom and technology. 2) Understanding the true problems in local area from volunteer soil doctors that are representative from Land Development Department Officials and organic agricultural farmer groups. Created the participation processes to solve deteriorated soil area systemically by arranging conference discussions and associations for knowledge exchange between volunteer soil doctors, farmers and Land Development Department Officials to know and lead to problem solutions. Initial Land Development Department studies utilized microbial activator LDD1 to make compost and microbial activator LDD2 for liquid bio fertilizer, after distributing these two products to farmers, we found the feedback from farmers at the southern part of Thailand. The weak point of microbial activator LDD1 is it requires 3-6 months to turn palm empty brunch to compost, because the major component of palm empty brunch is cellulose lignin and lipid. So research and development of microbial activator LDD1 was created immediately. A research team of Land Development Department collected soil samples around Thailand and two strains of lipid degrading bacteria; two strains of cellulolytic actinomycetes and one strain of cellulolytic fungi were selected. Then we rebranded from microbial activator LDD1 to microbial activator super LDD1 that was more effective than the old one. Adding microbial activator super LDD1 will speed the process of decomposition. For microbial activator LDD2, local government officials received the problem from farmers that it can’t digest cooking oil from kitchen waste. So, the research team investigated a group of high efficient microorganisms such as lipolytic bacteria phosphate solubilizing bacteria proteolytic bacteria and yeast which can activate the fermentation and digestion process of organic waste such as residues from fruit fish and cooking oil. The name of microbial activator LDD2 was changed to microbial activator super LDD2. 3). Land Development Department developed and promoted microbial activator Super LDD1 and microbial activator Super LDD2 from "upstream-midstream and downstream. LDC then created an organization culture and became an excellence learning center model for local researchers and devoted their efforts to working for farmers around Thailand. In addition to this we integrated a work pattern between central researchers in laboratory level and provincial area researchers in local area level who enhanced the research from laboratory results to be knowledge for public to farmers by various media. 5). In order to change farmers’ viewpoint, agencies must have intention and knowledge development to keep up with world current situations in safety and food security and promote knowledge to farmers by providing demonstrated farm and studies from successful organic farmers. Provide knowledge in easy patterns for farmers to easily understand such as, using language, pictures and media to display production procedures.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Land Development Department
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Title:   Director of Soil Biotechnology Division  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66)2 579 2875
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   supaporn01@yahoo.com  
Address:   2003/61 Phaholyothin road, Lardyao, Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand
Postal Code:   10900
City:   Bangkok
State/Province:   Bangkok

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