Thai among UN farming award winners
A Thai has been named among this year's recipients of the Model Farmer Awards from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on Friday presented awards to five agriculturalists from the Asia-Pacific region.
The Princess is a UN FAO Special Ambassador for Zero Hunger.
The five winners -- three women and two men -- were Ar Promtaisong from Rayong province of Thailand, Kim Ri Hwa from North Korea, Phonexay Thammavong from Laos, Fazla Yoosuf from the Maldives and Samson Mahit Haitong from Vanuatu.
With his debts mounting, Mr Ar had reached a point where he was ready to give up farming and sell his land.
However, after employing King Bhumibol's sufficiency economy philosophy to integrate organic produce and use resilient farming methods, Mr Ar saw his business begin to thrive again.
He eventually paid off his debts ahead of schedule and later helped organise a "Natural Agriculture Group", whose members share knowledge and pool farming resources in the province.
Meanwhile, Ms Kim qualified as an agricultural crop engineer through correspondence courses and applied new methods at Maejon Cooperative Farm that helped it thrive.
She implemented a scheme to restore the soil and prevent erosion and also introduced a system of rice intensification and stack cultivation for maize.
In Laos, Ms Phonexay taught herself about plants that she was not previously aware could be used as natural pesticides. All of her produce is now organic and the yields on her small farm have increased by an average of 150%.
In the Maldives, Ms Yoosuf raised the standard of fishing in the country and helped expand its export market from just Sri Lanka to Europe and beyond.
Meanwhile, Mr Haitong in Vanuatu promoted fair markets where he sells his pineapples at lower prices to villagers, higher prices to supermarkets and hotels, and gives away fruit and vegetables to the impoverished.