As her family had continued a rice farming with chemical dependency, it caused illness to her husband. Thus, Khun Sirirat Meeprom, a farmer from Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi Province, decided to begin an organic farming instead. From knowledge sharing organized by Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), she was inspired by what she learnt under a topic: “Biological Way of Life for Sustainable Development. Later, she was selected to be the Outstanding Farmer of Year 2012. She is also a key person in the establishment of Ban Khao Hom Community Enterprise where agricultural production standard is advanced internationally.

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          Rice Farming with Biological Way Approach

          “Before doing the organic farming, my husband had a chronic illness because we fully used chemical substance to accelerate productivity. After each time of insect pest control injection, he would be very exhausted. We had to help him up to get back to the house and he would just lie down helplessly for many days. Finally, we asked him to stop using chemical substance because it affected our health. Moreover, it cost us a lot of expense; we could earn very little after all. My husband agreed to stop using it.”

          Then, we began to learn how to do farming without chemical substance. We experienced trial and error. During that time, EGAT arranged a training project regarding Biological way of life for sustainable development at Wat Mai Phadungkhet, Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi Province. Both of us went there for a lecture. We were inspired and wanted to apply Biological way method with our rice farm. We contacted EGAT and informed that we wanted to have our rice farm used as illustrating farm. We had spent quite a while to discuss with EGAT because EGAT wanted to make sure that we really intended to do so. After that, EGAT had supported us on every matter including knowledge and suggestions relevant to integrated farming and sufficiency economy.

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          EGAT Has Been Standing with Us Side by Side.

          “Having been trained by EGAT, we gained accurate knowledge of how to use organic fertilizer. Moreover, we could produce plant-based insect repellents and effective microorganisms. We have used them to improve soil quality. We could grow good quality rice so that its price became better. Knowledge given by EGAT is a foundation enabling us to further develop our farm. As we used to buy all things for farming, our production cost was very high. Now, we have enough money to pay debt. We don’t have to worry about cost anymore. Our health becomes better while ecosystem is restored perfectly. The most importance is that we are producing 100% chemical-free rice to eat.

          We had learnt that if we lived a self-sufficient life, we would be happier. The more we struggle, the more we bring ourselves under bondage. If we want to be released, we must spend our lives by adhering to self-sufficient agricultural approach.

          EGAT has supported us continually. From life below zero, we could stand on our own feet now. EGAT provided us rice huller and a community rice-mill. Once we were able to live happily with good health, we wanted the others in our community to receive what we did as well. Then, agriculturists, who intended to do organic farming by applying sufficiency economy approach, gathered together. We registered our group as Ban Khao Hom Community Enterprise. EGAT provided us rice bag sealing machine as well. Now, the community enterprise produces riceberry products under its own brands. Our network is enlarged while 9 local agriculturists are included with a total area of rice farm around 250 rais”.

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          Developing to International Standard Organic Rice

          “In 2013, our organic rice standard encompassing rice growing and production process was certified by Rice Department, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Recently, it was certified by the United States Department of Agriculture. Actually, it was very difficult to be certified by the USDA. However, we determine to be role model for all agriculturists. We want to let them know that we are able to do everything by ourselves. At present, we receive a number of orders from foreign customers. Nonetheless, with regard to rice export, we would proceed gradually because our capability is not enough for doing so. In the near future, we will set our community to be a new agricultural learning center for those who are interested in organic rice farming. They can learn and get to know that doing organic farming is possible. We dream that one day we will produce food processing product such as riceberry barn oil as well. It may take a while to fulfill such dream.”

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          A Major Inspiration

          “We can come this far because of King Rama 9. His Majesty is our major inspiration and role model. Meanwhile, EGAT is a main force. It has never been easy for agriculturists to access supports from the government agencies. Fortunately, we have adhered to the Father King’s philosophy. EGAT, therefore, gives us supports unconditionally.

          We are very proud that we could expand our network to help other farmers. Then, our group has become a model community of self-sufficient agriculture. We would like to give thanks to EGAT that has been supporting us throughout the past years. To do for the nation and the King in return, we share a good model and knowledge regarding organic farming to fellow citizen. Moreover, we do it for EGAT in return as well because we are part of EGAT.”

          For more information about rice products under Thanyabhum and Ban Khao Hom brands, please visit:

          www.thanyabhum.com

          www.facebook.com/bankhaohomrice

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