Agriculture - - The King And I -

MANY of the 130 at­ten­dees in the Au­gust 4, 2018 Agribiz Kapi­han were fas­ci­nated by the ex­otic fruit trees that are grown in con­tain­ers. They didn’t re­al­ize that fruit trees will bear full-size fruits even if they are just grow­ing in con­tain­ers.

In the power point pre­sen­ta­tion, the speaker show­cased many ex­otic fruit trees grow­ing in rub­ber­ized con­tain­ers. These in­cluded dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of im­ported makopa, pomelo from the Philip­pines and other coun­tries like Viet­nam and Thai­land, Sev­eral va­ri­eties have been col­lected which were used in soil con­ser­va­tion projects in the coun­try­side, es­pe­cially in slop­ing ter­rains. This grass de­vel­ops long roots that en­able it to sur­vive very dry con­di­tions and hold ero­sion in check. One Ve­tiver va­ri­ety pro­duced long leaves which were used by the wom­en­folk to make bags, bas­kets and mats.

The King was so proud of his Ve­tiver ad­vo­cacy that fo­rums on the grass were held a num­ber of times at­tended by in­ter­na­tional visi­tors. He wanted to share his ad­vo­cacy to other parts of the world. Ve­tiver grass helps con­serve soil and wa­ter.

The King also ini­ti­ated tis­sue-cul­ture pro­duc­tion not only of or­chids but also of fruit trees. One ex­am­ple is a su­pe­rior va­ri­ety of jack­fruit that was prop­a­gated through tis­sue cul­ture.

ROYAL DE­VEL­OP­MENT STUDY CEN­TERS – Among the no­table projects of the King in the ru­ral ar­eas are the so-called Royal De­vel­op­ment Study Cen­ters (RDSCs) where the ex­per­tise of sci­en­tists in the gov­ern­ment agen­cies and pri­vate ex­perts are har­nessed to come up with prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to prob­lems con­fronting farm­ers.

The first RDSC, the Khao Hin Son, was es­tab­lished in 1978 in the prov­ince of Cha­cho­engsao which was plagued with il­le­gal log­ging lead­ing to de­for­esta­tion. The soil had be­come so poor that only cas­sava could be grown. So what was done? The ex­perts con­ducted re­search to re­ha­bil­i­tate the soil and re­store the bal­ance of na­ture. The find­ings of the stud­ies were dis­sem­i­nated chicos, Abiu from Brazil, Per­ante orange, guava, and sev­eral oth­ers.

The Agribiz Kapi­han is a fo­rum that is held ev­ery Satur­day at the Harbest Events Cen­ter at the Rizal Techno Park in Tay­tay, Rizal. It is a brain­child of Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusi­ness. The fo­rum is open free to the pub­lic but one has to pre-reg­is­ter at tele­phone no. 671-7411 to 14 or thru Alecci Jerez at (0946) 259-3560. to the farm­ers to im­prove their farm­ing, even­tu­ally im­prov­ing their in­come. The farm­ers were trained on land de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion, ex­ten­sion, forestry, live­stock, fish­eries and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of co­op­er­a­tives.

In an­other area, the prob­lems were some­what dif­fer­ent. In the Huai Sai RDSC in the west coast of the Gulf of Thai­land, the prob­lems in­cluded ex­ces­sive use of pes­ti­cides and wrong farm­ing tech­niques which ren­dered the land un­pro­duc­tive. Again, the right so­lu­tions were de­vel­oped and dis­sem­i­nated to the farm­ing pop­u­la­tion. The plant­ing of Ve­tiver grass was pro­moted to check soil ero­sion and make the land pro­duc­tive. The Huai Sai RDSC was es­tab­lished in 1983 cov­er­ing an area of 2,500 hectares. To­day, the farm­ers have be­come self-suf­fi­cient, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

Four other RDSCs were es­tab­lished in places where the com­mu­ni­ties faced chal­lenges like man­grove de­for­esta­tion, in­tru­sion of salt wa­ter in agri­cul­tural lands, and other prob­lems. In the course of de­vel­op­ing prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions, di­ver­si­fied farm­ing was pro­moted so that the farm­ers did not only de­pend on rice as their source of in­come. They were taught to pro­duce baby corn, raise silk­worm in their back­yards, raise live­stock, and en­gage in cot­tage in­dus­tries.

Over­all, the RDSCs helped ru­ral peo­ple be­come more en­ter­pris­ing and self-de­pen­dent. The Cen­ters sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved the peo­ple’s eco­nomic sta­tus. And that is just one of the rea­sons why we ad­mire the late Thai King.

ATI Director Luz Ta­posok pos­ing with a fruit­ing pomelo in a con­tainer.

Ja­son de Vera pos­ing with the fruit­ing Per­ante orange that he bought at the Mini Tiangge at the Agribiz Kapi­han.

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