| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
1) Main objectives
1.1 To add value of agricultural products and upgrade livelihoods of hilltribes
1.2 To develop quality of life and strengthen upland community through promote planting toxic free vegetables and herbs for sale and household consumption in order to reducing expenditure.
1.3 To expand sufficiency economy philosophy and the New Theory Concept to farmers including increase knowledge of the youth on biodiversity conservation.
1.4 To satisfy targeted farmers who are a key actor of the project and meet the needs of farmers
2) Strategies in implementation
The ministry formulated policy on “Go to be a smart farmer with smart officer”. The aim was to increase production efficiency by using appropriate knowledge and technology to raise income. This policy is in accordance with sufficiency economy philosophy that emphasize on develop human resource in line with conserving natural resources and reducing reliance on external inputs.
HIlltribe development was carried out by the Office of Permanent Secretary and concerned agencies. The major activities are as follow:
3.1 Training activity at local expert learning center
Local expert arranged training course to transfer knowledge on sufficiency economy and integrated farming to hilltribes. Moreover, local expert also provided supports to forming a group network after training and follow up results of training at farmers’ farms.
3.2 Formation of group and network was to support trained hilltribes who want to form a group for economic activity.
3.3 Sufficiency Community Learning center was established in Huay Hin Lad Nai community in order to expand knowledge of appropriate farming and develop farming skills in accordance with sufficiency economy philosophy.
4) Process of project implementation comprised of three activities.
4.1 Using SWOT analysis in defining vision, goal, objectives and activities
4.2 Implementation according to the project plan
4.2.1Learning Route training was organized by Procasur and Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP).
4.2.2 Training course on organic farming was organized by the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture under the support by the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC).
4.2.3 Huay Hin Lad Nai Vegetable and Herb group was formed after community members conducted a survey on indigenous veggie and herb in the surrounding forest. In addition, community leader launched a project on “making forest as a home garden” which aimed to sustainable use of biodiversity that led to food security.
4.2.4 Sufficiency economy community learning center in Huay Hin Lad Nai community is used to exchange knowledge and experiences among agricultural experts from related agencies under MOAC and farmers. Farmers can learn and practice a variety of activities such as composting, mushroom farm, fish farm, chicken farm, and book keeping.
Project evaluation was carried out by Agricultural Technology and Sustainable Policy Division (ATSAP), Local expert, IMPACT , Procasur, Office of Agricultural Economic and the university.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The ministry assigned the Office of Permanent Secretary as a major agency to corporate with related agencies. Activities are follows;
1. Farming activities were organized at Local Expert Learning center and sufficiency economy community learning center. Group farming was supported by local expert.
2. Procasur and AIPP organized Learning Route training at LAO PDR, provided financial support and monitored the project.
3. IMPECT was also monitored the project.
1. Agriculture and Cooperative provincial office acted as coordinator to work with the central government and related agencies in the province in order to facilitate the project.
2. Project monitoring was carried out in cooperating with Procasur, IMPECT and the university.
Processes in mobilizing the project composed of:
1. Inputs which need to use to ensure efficiency of project implementation were supports from concerned agencies such as private sector, academic institute and other local expert learning center.
2. Process to mobilize the project can be concluded as;
2.1 Define systematic and clear action plan, structure, regulations and goal of local expert. Determining structure of authority and regulations to use as guideline and have a clear objectives including corporate with related agencies in order to reach targets. Facility, staff, curriculum and teaching materials need to continuously develop. Open opportunity for community member and agencies to take part in management of local expert learning center. 2.2 Integrating group and network focused on knowledge and management in order to support the project.
2.3 Develop local wisdom of community in 3 main issues, namely; improving human capital for increasing capacity in daily life and occupations, building up social condition to create team work in term of group and network and environmental activity focused on conserve soil, forest, watershed and wildlife animals, restore and monitor environmental conditions by community member including create biodiversity through reducing, decreasing and abandon hazardous chemicals.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Resources are used for the project implementation as follows:
1) Financial resources:
1.1 The government allocated a budget for facilitating a project including financial supports for training in the local expert learning centers, group managing and establishing community learning center for sufficiency economy.
1.2 Land, money and labor are provided by local people who participated in the project.
1.3 Private sector provided budgets for field visits, follow up, inputs and technical supports.
2) Human resources:
2.1 Responsible government agencies and all stakeholders from public and private sectors provided academic knowledge.
2.2 Local experts and their teams are applied sufficiency economy philosophy in managing farming and livelihoods. Knowledge and experiences gained from the philosophy were transferred to farmers to learn on how to be self reliance farmers. Moreover, they have to draw up management plan of the center, define curriculum, and selection of farmers.
3) Government factors: Government policy, central and provincial officials play very important role to implement the project. Central government response for formulating policy, enacting regulation and rules, drawing clear guideline and informing project details to responsible officials including periodically follow up and evaluate the project. Provincial officials act as facilitators to assist local expert learning centers for the whole process of training.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Inter Mountain People Education and Culture in Thailand (IMPECT) and three hilltribe groups (Karen, Lahu and Akha) took part in a training course on Learning Route Managing Forests, Sustaining Lives, Improving Livelihoods of Indigenous People and Ethnic Groups in the Mekong Region Lao PDR and Thailand which was organized by Procasur and Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP) from November 12-19, 2012. Innovation plan on Community Herb and Vegetable crops for self reliance was set up as a result of the training. The plan was aimed to promote toxic free vegetables and herb cultivation for good health and local medicine leading to reducing household expenditures derived from buying foods. Furthermore, children and youth have a chance to learn and conserve biodiversity in community. For the first phase of the plan, Agricultural Technology and Sustainable Agricultural Policy Division (ATSAP), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in collaborating with IMPECT selected 15 hilltribes from three mentioned groups to attain training at Institute of Sustainable Agriculture in Chiang Mai province. The institute is managed by Mr. Chomchun Bunrahong who is a local expert specialized in green market and participates in the project on Agricultural development in accordance with Sufficiency Economy Philosophy proposed by ATSAP. Participants returned home and built demonstration plots in their communities. Local expert and his team assist them in setting up training plan, curriculum and methods to prepare plots. Plot was designed based on capacity of its areas. Committee has been set up to implement the plan. Members brainstormed, built veggie plots, raise fish, doing integrated farming and composting. Procasur provided financial supports as proposed by ATSAP and hilltribe groups and project evaluation was carried out by ATSAP, IMPECT and Procasur. ATSAP allocated 25,000 Baht in 2014 fiscal year to each group for group building and networking. Chiang Mai Agricultural and Cooperative office in collaborating with local expert learning center facilitated the group through arranging community forum to analyst capacity of group by using SWOT and setting up action plan for activities such as human development plan, marketing plan and production plan. ATSAP, Chiang Mai Agricultural and Cooperative office, Procasur and IMPECT joint hands to participate in activity, provide technical support, monitoring and evaluating the project in the phase of training. Furthermore, in fiscal year 2014 ATSAP and the provincial office assisted Karen farmers’ group of Ban Huai Hin Lad Nai in Chiang Rai province to establish the learning center that aimed to strengthening group network and career development through learning and practicing various activities, namely; set up production plan, food processing, marketing, public relation, and human development plan. The group set up board of committee, brainstorming for analyzing group’s capacity and planning according to their needs. Budget, technique and knowledge including project evaluation were supported by ATSAP and IMPECT.
Results of the project has shown that the community learning center for sufficiency economy and Vegetable and Herbal group were established and used as learning sources for sustainable agriculture. One hundred and thirty eight interested persons and staff from various agencies visited the community and conducted participatory research. Trained farmers gave advices to interested farmers and school children for activities as vegetable plantation, bee farm, rice cultivation, herb plantation, cost reduction through composting agricultural waste, making natural pesticides, soil improvement, fish farm, frog farm and record production data for resolving problems in the farm. Community members can earn 100,000 baht in doing farming and more 100,000 baht for off-farm works that contributed to upgrade their quality of life.
7.1 Outcomes derived from integrating implementation of local expert learning centers have affected on communities and society as follows;
Economic aspect: Alleviate poverty regarding to the New Theory farming practice less reliance on external inputs, decrease household expenses by replacing with internal inputs and reduce risks from unstable price of agricultural commodity. Moreover, a balance of trade deficit has been reduced from the decrease of import on agricultural chemicals.
Health and food safety: Foods derived from agricultural nature technique with no use of chemicals were safe from chemical residues. Products from this technique are mainly used for household consumption and surplus is for making merit, breeding, processing and sold to market under safety standards.
Food Security: Farming system focused on diversityof various activities on plant, animals, fishery, soil water and forest is able to respond on satisfaction of living, using, consuming and security. This system can react to food security of farmers, community and nation.
Environmental aspect: Farming system following the New Theory relied on fertility of soil, water and forest including respect to the ecosystem. The system emphasized on the importance of living organisms in soil and water. Therefore, farming practices in this system abandon plowing, burning and bare soil. Soil restoration is carried out by using Vetiver grass for soil and water conservation, increasing soil fertility by using green manure and applying botanical insecticides to control insect pests. These activities practiced in the system are considered as good indicators for the environment.
Social aspect: The New Theory concept strengthens community by the first emphasize on distribute the surplus of products to neighbors that create the unity and lead to building up group network to carry out further activity in the second and the third steps of the concept (Kasetsart University, 2012).
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The system of evaluation and follow-up are as follows:
1. Follow-up of participants by the local expert learning center
1.1 Local expert learning center made a follow-up plan to know the results of training. The plan was included reviewing results after applied knowledge in farms and providing advices to solve agricultural problems. Results have shown farmers gained morale to do farming and proposed their needs on plant varieties and small ponds including made comments to provincial offices in order to inform related agencies for further assistances.
1.2 Following up and report a progress of the project are carried out by provincial and central staff, IMPECT and Procasur team.
2. Evaluation of the project was carried out by Kasetsart University. Project improvement was performed for continuous development, for example,
2.1 Mass media such as short documentary, TV, newspaper, cinema and radio are used to advertise and disseminate information of the project.
2.2 Books of local knowledge and wisdom of local expert learning center and documents of Book keeping were distributed to participated indigenous people.
2.3 To set up coordinating center for hill tribe development in accordance with sufficiency economy philosophy in order to act as a center in collaborating with concerned agencies.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. Hilltribes are lack of a chance to acquire appropriate knowledge in farming that contribute to gain low yield, high production costs, less access to market, inappropriate use of pesticides and degradation of soil. Office of Permanent Secretary resolved this obstacle by providing agricultural knowledge and technique to hilltribes in collaborating with concerned agencies as follows;
1.1 Implementing the project on local expert learning center aimed to build knowledge and understanding on agricultural development based on sufficiency economy philosophy towards hilltribes in order to change their attitudes, thoughts and behaviors on farming. For the first phase, the project aimed to reduce expense and change behaviors of participants to be proper with their economic situations, environment and culture including continuously improve themselves in order to have capacity to perform advance activity under sufficiency philosophy. The method of “farmer train farmer” was used by local experts to transfer knowledge and experiences that have been successfully practiced by applied sufficiency philosophy in their farms and daily life leading to ending poverty. Moreover, the project also strengthened a group of trained farmers in order to produce, process and market their products including promote local knowledge based on participatory learning regarding the needs of people and provide supports to building a network for expanding economic, social and environmental activities.
1.2 Establishment of the community sufficiency center paved a chance to hilltribes to recognize their needs through analyzing their capacities and needs, planning training course and practicing activities. Results of learning from the center contributed to more understanding of hilltribes to perform activities upon their plans that meet the needs of all.
Office of Permanent Secretary will continue its support to their future activities.
2. Slash and burn farming technique done by hilltribes is always blamed on deforestation by common people.
Participatory research carried out by community members of Ban Huay Hin Lad Nai and related agencies indicated that rotational farming areas in the community in year 2008 (18 hectare of rainfed areas and 716 hectare of swidden areas) had capacity to capture and store carbon approximately 17,673 tons, while 467 tons of carbon lost from burning. Slash and burn agriculture is used for a short period of time and left for 6-10 years that vegetation can grow again. In each year 24 hectare of swidden areas in Ban Hauy Hin Lad Nai are used for cultivations where total areas are 254 hectare. Area size per household is 0.64-0.8 hectare. Major crop is indigenous rice and a variety of eligible crops are planted in the same plot. No chemical fertilizer and pesticides are applied to fields. This farming system can prove that hilltribes do not cause deforestation.
Office of Permanent Secretary has a plan to create mechanism for building corporation between concerned agencies and community. The corporation will induce people to have clearer perceptions and more understandings on slash and burn technique and community forest management that fosters daily life and nature. Also, data collection on culture and local wisdom related to forest management will be encouraged, and a proper farming system extend to other upland communities for poverty eradication and coping with climate change.
3. High tendency of the youth in upland migrated to work in urban areas leading to a lack of labor force in the community.
Karen community assigned a group of the youth in Ban Hin Lad Nai to build fire break, ordain tree, performing ritual ceremony to conserve forest, tagging tree around community, forming a saving group, set up a team to collect and record local knowledge and keep following external situations that might affect the community. These activities empowered the youth for self development, increase capacity in dealing with external shocks and preparing the next generation for tackling with uncertain future through the community sufficiency learning center. Furthermore, enrolling in preserving their traditional and culture by graining local wisdoms from adults brought confidences and prides to the youth lading to lower number of urban migration. Office of Permanent Secretary will provide support to the youth in transferring knowledge that meet their needs such as training course on food processing, training on becoming resource person etc.