Son of the good earth
Orphaned since he was in primary class 5, Waroot went on to become one of the first Bangkok Post Foundation scholars to embark on a postgraduate course, successfully completing a master’s degree at Chiang Mai University.
Coming from a farming family, Waroot studied at the Faculty of Agriculture. He now works for the Saha Kan Kaset company as a sales promotion officer, offering advice to farming cooperatives on the fertiliser and pesticide that best meets their requirements.
“Thai farmers tend to follow each other. If they hear that farmers in one area enjoy success with a particular type of fertiliser they will follow suit, not taking into account the fact that a fertiliser that’s good for sandy soil may not be suitable for clay soil. My job is to explain the differences to them and to suggest the best type of fertiliser for their needs,” he says.
Speaking about farmers’ penchant for chemical fertilisers, Waroot explains that the advantage of chemical fertilisers is that they yield quick results, although they may also lead to a hardening of the soil over time.
An organic fertiliser, on the other hand, is slower but does not harden the soil. The key, he says, is to mix the fertilisers. An organic fertiliser yields slower results but is cheaper.
Moreover, organic fertilisers can be produced in Thailand but chemical fertilisers are wholly imported since the raw materials are not available in Thailand.
“Chemical fertilisers were introduced only three to four decades ago because the government wanted to see improved yields. Organic fertilisers may not have the full complement of essential ingredients, but are less harmful in the long term.”
Waroot is now developing a plot of land in his native Chiang Mai province, growing a mixed crop and experimenting with out-of-season lime plants.
“In that area most people have single-crop orchards. I want to show local people that if we grow a mixed crop, whatever we produce won’t flood the market and prices won’t be depressed.”
Waroot now leads a comfortable life. He has a company car for his frequent journeys to various parts of the North that are a regular part of his job. His brother is a non-commissioned officer in the army while his younger sister is in the third year of a hotel and tourism course at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.
“I want to show local people that if we grow a mixed crop, whatever we produce won’t flood the market and prices won’t be depressed”
“I would like to thank the Foundation for giving an ordinary country boy like me the opportunity to study and the chance to find a good job.”