Rice project in HM's honour
SUFFICIENCY ECONOMY and organic farming have been promoted in Thailand for a number of years through several initiatives as a means of securing the survival of farmers.
In the most recent of these endeavours, the Chaipattana Foundation and the Thai Rice Foundation - in cooperation with public and private organisations - have launched the "Rice for the King" project to encourage awareness among both farmers and consumers about the key staple crop and organic farming.
The two foundations formed partnerships with Medifoods (Thailand), the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Air Force, the Royal Thai Navy, TV Direct, Thailand Post and Nation Broadcasting Corp (NBC) to run the project during August through December this year.
In addition to celebrating His Majesty the King's 86th birthday on December 5, the project is aimed at enhancing knowledge about His Majesty's sufficiency-economy philosophy
and organic rice cultivation through various activities and Nation Channel television programmes.
Moreover, the net revenue of organic jasmine rice sold under the project will be presented to the King.
Warrawat Boonlai, director of Medifoods (Thailand), the producer and exporter of Red Ant-brand rice, said the company would be supplying Hom Mali rice 105 (aromatic jasmine rice 105) for the project. The rice will retail for Bt149 per 1-kilogram bag. Initially, the company is providing 200,000 rice bags, which will be available from August to December at Gourmet Market outlets in The Emporium, Siam Paragon, The Promenade and Terminal 21, as well as at Home Fresh Market and Tops Market stores and welfare shops in the military.
Consumers can also order a minimum volume of 5kg of rice via the TV Direct call centre, with bags ordered via the channel then delivered to post offices around the country.
Medifoods exports Red Ant rice to the Australian, US and European markets. Its organic jasmine rice is mainly grown by contract farmers on more than 10,000 rai (1,600 hectares) in Chaiyaphum province. Measuring success "The measure of the success of the project is not how much rice can be sold, but to what extent Thai people gain further awareness about rice and realise the importance of organic rice farming.
"Our organic rice cultivation network provides both rice quality and a higher yield, with a maximum of 823 kilograms per rai. Organic rice production is definitely a solution for farmers'
sustainability," said Warrawat.
He added that the company expected to expand its organic rice-farming areas to 30,000 rai by 2015, growing premium white rice as well as jasmine rice 105.
Medifoods is also spending more than Bt10 million on the research and development of rice products.
NBC director Aeumsree Boonhachairat said National Channel would promote the project through to December.
Besides a television programme demonstrating models that have successfully followed sufficiency-economy guidelines, the company has formed partnerships with TV Direct, a network
of volunteers, and the Kontamtang Club (a road-travel guide) to jointly run CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities, she said.
She explained that Nation Channel would encourage individuals and organisations to buy Red Ant rice for charity.
The rice will be delivered on behalf of donors to various charitable organisations, including the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand and the Foundation for Children, as well as to people in the southernmost provinces who have been badly affected by the ongoing violence in the area.