The importance of sustainable farming, food safety and security, and addressing poverty among farmers was the subject of a recent 11-party forum on agriculture and food security. The forum discussed the need for organic farming, technological innovation, and upgrading the agricultural industry to meet international standards, as well as tackling land ownership disparity. The event was organized by the National Farmers Council, Biodiversity, Sustainable Agriculture, and Food Sovereignty Action Thailand (the BioThai Foundation), Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, and their partners.
Decharut Sukkumnoed, director of the Move Forward Party (MFP)’s Think Forward Centre, suggested that the government’s subsidy schemes should be revamped as they have failed to improve farmers’ livelihoods. “The farm sector needs restructuring and a fresh workforce of young farmers to supplement ageing farmers and upgrade the production of agricultural products,” he said. The MFP plans to increase the land rights fund from 300 million baht to 10 billion baht in four years and give away Sor Por Kor land to landless farmers.
The Bhumjaithai Party aims to reduce chemical fertilizer use by half and increase organic farming areas by 200% over four years to promote food safety and security. Supachai Jaisamut, Bhumjaithai’s registrar, said tax measures on harmful chemical substances will be considered to discourage their use, along with a ban on commercial advertisements of chemical-laden products. The party also aims to provide financial assistance to the organic farming sector, promote green markets nationwide, and elevate food safety standards.
Democrat Party deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot spoke of the party’s 26-point agricultural policy designed to raise farmers’ incomes and support Thailand’s potential to lead food exports. This policy includes promoting sustainable farming through increasing organic farming areas and protecting biodiversity.
Chartthaipattana Party’s agricultural policy is based on the New-Theory Agriculture principle, with plans to allocate a larger budget for development in the sector. Party director Nikorn Chamnong expressed concern that the country has put too much emphasis on the transport sector, to the detriment of the agricultural sector.
Atavit Suwanpakdee, deputy leader of the Chartpattanakla Party, proposed establishing a farmers’ cooperative similar to New Zealand-based Fonterra, a global dairy nutrition company owned by 10,500 New Zealand farmers and their families. The party will also promote the use of digital management to help farmers better deal with farming.
Other initiatives include Pheu Thai’s plan to issue land deeds covering 50 million rai and encourage rice farmers to switch to maize and soybeans. The Palang Pracharath Party will focus on reducing costs, increasing productivity, and promoting exports. The Thai Sang Thai Party plans to allocate 150 billion baht for research and development, while the Prachachart Party will push for a law to limit land ownership by investors.
Overall, the 11-party forum on agriculture and food security highlighted the importance of sustainable farming, food safety, and addressing poverty among farmers. The collaborative efforts of these parties demonstrate a shared commitment to finding solutions that will benefit the agricultural industry and ensure food security for generations to come.