Increasing Productivity of Rice in Sawankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement
Cooperative Promotion Department

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Presently rice, the major food crop, is in crisis. Many rice producing countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand are facing difficulties of production because of natural disasters that result in a reduction in rice yield. Furthermore, the amount of paddy fields has been decreasing continuously. Farmers would rather shift to energy crops such as sugar cane, maize, and cassavas because they yield more profit. The government of Thailand is well aware of this difficulty, so it has released various campaigns for quality rice production to be enough for domestic and foreign consumption. The Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office, a government agency under Cooperative Promotion Department located in SrinakhonDistrict; Sukhothai Province has a duty to allocate land of 6,557 hectares to 2,500 farmer families for farming and living. Members of 90% are engaged with rice farming. Since the soil is fertile enough for agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives then announced this area to be suitable for rice of S1. Before the initiative, rice farming in this area relied on chemical substances. Farmers used large amounts of chemical fertilizer, insecticide, etc. The amount of chemicals used was likely increasing year by year while rice farming tended to yield less productivity. Farmers were faced with higher costs gradually, in 2008 spending 1,600 baht/acre, rising to 2,700 baht/acre in 2012, or 350 baht/acre in average. So, they could shift from rice farming to sugar cane instead. However, the problem was still there when sugar cane was not the crop the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives promoted in that area because of the soil quality that was not suitable for sugar cane farming. The promotion of the Ministry was in terms of financial and technical assistance that affected their stable professional and quality of life. Furthermore, assistance from government agencies had overlapped or had no integration that found the solution effectively. Farmers lacked knowledge of planting and soil nourishment, so they need more chemical fertilizer that caused soil degradation and health problems for consumers. From the problem above, the Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office initiated the farmer-centered project of increasing productivity of rice in Sawankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement. The project intended to focus on integration of resources from involved partners; provision of knowledge on cost reduction.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office proposed the project of Increasing Productivity of Rice in Sawankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement as a solution to the troubles mentioned previously by working with Swankhalok Land Settlement Cooperative Limited, Sukhothai Water Supply Office, Sukhothai Land Development Office, and Pitsanulok Pest Control Center. It had a purpose to reduce cost of production and increase productivity in the right proportion of investment by focusing on administrating four core factors of production: namely farmers, soil, water and rice insect pests, and promoting integration of agencies involved in rice production for most benefit of participating farmers. The project was implemented using a participatory integrated approach. That was integration of all involved government organizations by pooling resources such as budget, human resources, equipment and following the work plan by its own function. The Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office acted as a coordinating center and a learning center to propagate knowledge on how to reduce cost of production and increase income instead; for example, matters of organic substance usage in farm instead of chemical oneand natural control of rice insect pests. Farmers were also encouraged to have the soil quality checked before rice planting, to nourish the soil in the proper manner at all times and form groups to manage water usage adequately for domestic needs.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The solution to this issue through participatory integrated approach can be regarded as innovative. It needs the participation and cooperation from three partners: (1) SwankhalokLand Settlement Cooperative Limited as a people movement; (2) government organizations engaged with rice production in the area; (3) participating farmers. The solution started from Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office, a government organization who presented this idea to other organizations, the Cooperative and farmers. After all agreed to this, the project started launching through the cooperation from all partners and Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office acted like a coordinator dealing with planning, budgeting, human resource planning and implementing to put forward all approaches to reach their objectives.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The strategy of participatory integrated approach was implemented through the following activities: 1. Integration of involved government organizations Involved government organizations were Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office, Swankhalok Land Settlement Cooperative Limited, Sukhothai Water Supply Office, Sukhothai Land Development Office, and Pitsanulok Pest Control Center. It started in 2010 when a survey of Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office reported that farmers of 90% who were engaged with rice farming were concerned about the high cost of production year by year. It consisted mostly of wasted chemical fertilizer and other products. So, the Office planned to help those farmers by working integration of the organizations involved in rice production, jointly planning, pooling budget and human resources. The following year in 2011, Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office adopted this idea into practice as follows: 1. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office worked with other organizations in jointly planning and budgeting for the project. 2. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office and Swankhlok Land Settlement Cooperative Limited jointly selected the farmers intending to participate in this project. 3. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office in collaboration with involved government organizations organized the orientation, training and seminar for participating farmers on effective water usage for rice production, soil quality examination, proper soil nourishment, fertilizer usage before harvesting, etc. 4. After knowledge propagation, farmers’ rice production was followed up and given close advice by the officers. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office was a first aid center to receive any comments from farmers and give them advice or information on related matters. 5. After each crop, Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office conducted the evaluation. Any troubles occurred during harvesting would be presented in the meeting between the related government organizations and participating farmers. The resolution from the meeting would be the final agreement and then implemented in next crop. 2. Increasing the rice productivity It had the objective of reducing production costs and increasing the productivity with the right proportion of investment. The core factors of rice farming namely farmers, soil, and water and rice insect pests should be managed effectively by government organizations of which functions were concerned directly. The effective management could yield as follows: 1. Farmers were provided a chance of exposure to cutting-edge technology and technical knowledge and sharing experiences to others for applying to their own farming. 2. Soil: the participating farmers had the soil in their land examined for quality before the proper nourishment. 3. Water: the water supply was administrated effectively which was adequate for each crop. 4. Rice insect pests: farmers were provided know-how of natural insect pest control.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The stakeholders involved in the implementation were: 1. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office as a coordinating center working with other government organizations for integrated action plan and pooling resources. 2. Swankhalok Land Settlement Cooperative Limited as a people movement supporting financial assistance and inputs for participating members and jointly selecting the participating members in this project. 3. Sukhothai Land Development Office as an organization in charge of soil quality examination and soil nourishment for planting. 4. Sukhothai Water Supply Office as an organization in charge of water administration for rice production. 5. Pitsanulok Pest Control Center as an organization in charge of prevention and control of rice insect pests. 6. Participating farmers as service user participating in the project for purpose of reducing cost and increasing household income.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The resources used in implementing this project were budget, human resources, equipment, and management gained by pooling those from the five involved government organizations. They agreed to pool and jointly allocate these resources properly and adequately for implementation to achieve the purpose of the project.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
After implementation, it was found that the project was very successful and reached the main purpose that was farmers could reduce the cost of production by 22%. That resulted from active participation of farmers who were assured that the project would make it happen. The techniques encouraged farmers to be assured that the project had led to the success: 1. Disclosure and dissemination of necessary information and knowledge by three partners supported decision on planning and administration of those involved. For example, the information of water condition in the irrigated area by the Water Supply Office helped farmers plan appropriate water usage, and information on disease and insect situation allowed farmers to figure out the effective control. 2. Sharing knowledge and experience sessions provoked farmers’ learning and recognition that allowed them to apply all gained knowledge to their farming. 3. Field demonstration by Sukhothai Land Development Office provided the chance for farmers of learning and applying to their farms.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The project was monitored and evaluated through: 1. Monthly meetings would be held intra-and-inter organizationally. Every government organization reported the progress and obstacles of its implementation. Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office organized the inter-organizational monthly meetings. 2. Field visits by executive government officers would be scheduled once every three months for receiving farmers’ comments. 3. Recommendation session by Swankhalok Cooperative Land Settlement Office was held to receive recommendations from stakeholders and the public via various communications such as comments boxes, telephone, email or personal visit. 4. Surveys were made every six months to find out the first-hand information and analyze it for better practice. This information was production cost, input cost, household financial status and yield reports.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The obstacles farmers encountered and overcame are as follows: 1. Weak integration. This resulted from officers’ misunderstanding of new methods and techniques. They were still familiar with the traditional working style which was not oriented to participation. This cased poor integration and participation in activities. So, the policy makers were invited to share the decision on solutions to this obstacle. 2. Less confidence about activities. Farmers did not understand how less use of chemical fertilizer helped reduce the cost of production. So, dissemination of knowledge and technology or filed trips could help farmers be assured of participating in activities as planned.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The main benefit from the project was that farmers realized how to reduce the cost of rice production, how to increase the household income and better quality of life and how to make most use of soil, water and resources. The beneficiaries were participating farmers or 30 families from 2011 for 10 families to 2012 for 20 families. The cost of production was reduced by 22 percent. All government organizations could follow the action plan effectively because of obvious goals and good cooperation. The project outcomes were: 1. Good integration among government organizations. 2. More effective service. The result of evaluation in 2012 was reported farmers of 98% and involved organizations were satisfied with this project because they were allowed to work together and share ideas to implement the project. From 2011–2012 there were no claims made from the public. 3. This project was worthy economically and socially. The cost for access to the public service was reduced by 80%, while the cost of rice production decreased by 22%. Their income increased by 24% which assured them of a stable professional life and a better quality of live.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This project is sustainable because it truly takes farmers’ needs and interests into account. So, all activities of the action plan were oriented to reduce the production costs, increase household income, reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, increase the use of organic fertilizers, and assure farmers of their profession and good quality of life. The project can be transferable to others. All know-how such as natural rice insect pest control or cost reduction with new rice farming techniques, etc. was filed and ready for public dissemination. The implementing approach was also presented to other cooperative land settlements or any agricultural countries with similar factors that were encountering with the similar troubles to upgrade their people’s livelihood.

 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)
All stakeholders have learned that good teamwork can contribute to the success of the project. The government officers who had the same and clear purpose have been working together closely on the basis of self-help and mutual-help. They were ambitious to follow the action plans so as to reduce production costs, increase productivity and improve farmers’ quality of life. After implementation, the government organizations as service providers and participating farmers as service users gained benefits.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Cooperative Promotion Department
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Sureenuch Auansakul
Title:   Mrs.  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66) 2 281 7002/ + (66) 2 628 5143
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   No.12 Krungkasem Road,Theves
Postal Code:   10200
City:   Pranakorn
State/Province:   Bangkok

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