Farmer wins World Food Day Award
- Published: 16 Oct 2013 at 18.09
- Online news:
A Thai vegetable grower was presented on Wednesday with the FAO’s World Food Day Model Farmer Award for his success as an organic entrepreneur and businessman.
Jarun Jaroensab receives the World Food Day Asia-Pacific Model Farmer award from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand. (FAO photo)
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who presided over the annual event, presented the FAO’s Asia-Pacific award to Jarun Jaroensab along with three other farmers from Bhutan, the Philippines and Tonga. The awards were for their outstanding achievements in agriculture and food production.
The native of Ratchaburi said he began to take farming seriously as a teenager after he learned that his parents’ five rai of farmland was saddled with debts. He believed there had to be a way that would free his family from debt. He did some research and found a book by His Majesty the King on his Sufficiency Theory of farming.
Mr Jarun thought the ideas in the book were great and turned to Kasetsart University’s agriculture faculty for advice on implementation of the practices. “At first, using organic methods, yields were low,” Mr Jarun said. “It was hard and many of my neighbours gave up.”
Mr Jarun spent a long time on experimenting with how to grow organic rice and other crops before he was able to make his yields high and his farm self-sufficient.
However, lower crop prices caused by oversupply in the market prompted him to rethink what to grow.
In search of ideas, he went to work for one of Thailand’s largest agro-industrial companies. With no degree, he could only get a job as a janitor, but Mr Jarun made the most of it by watching and listening to experts there. After three months he had developed a business plan, quit his job, and started growing organic asparagus and baby corn, selling the produce at a market just north of Bangkok.
It wasn’t long before buyers who distribute in Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and other countries discovered Mr Jarun’s high-quality organic vegetables. Although his farm has expanded to 30 rai, he is trying to grow adequate asparagus and baby corn to meet growing demand.
Today, Mr Jarun trains other farmers. He is a member of working groups on sustainable methods at two prestigious universities, and is the chairman of the Safe Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Group in his district.
He also managed to put himself through university, earning a degree in political administration. Mr Jarun said he has no desire to be a politician. “I just want to understand how to make government work better for farmers,’’ he said.
The annual award ceremony is part of FAO’s Asia-Pacific 2013 observance of World Food Day, marking the 68th anniversary of the founding of FAO in Quebec City, Canada on Oct 16, 1945. The theme for this year’s World Food Day is Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.