Following a May 22nd coup in Southeast Asia’s Thailand, the new military-led government has unveiled plans to support organic agriculture and sustainable agricultural reforms. This is an unprecedented departure from the unsustainable populist subsidies that proceeded it in Thailand, one which can be found in various degrees of malfunction around the globe.
In a speech made before the nation, the Royal Thai Army’s General Prayuth Chan-ocha said:
“We are trying to find measures to fix the prices of agricultural products without bringing more problems like those that happened in the past. Some of these measures include cost reduction such as costs of fertilizers and seedlings, increased productivity while reducing areas being used,employ[ing] natural fertilizer and reduc[ing] chemical fertilizers, use of local raw materials, and increase product cost and quality in order to compete with other countries.
At present, NCPO has giving priority to paying the rice farmers. The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives owes the rice farmers a large sum of money. BAAC is now in the process of trying to solve this problem.”
The new military aims to support farmers who were cheated by the ousted regime’s failed subsidy program that left nearly a million rice farmers unpaid for rice they turned into government warehouses. General Prayuth says that he will replace the subsidized programs with a system that replaces Big-Ag, and localizes agriculture – making it more sustainable.
Furthermore, the new regime promises to:
- Invest in failing national infrastructure.
- Build new irrigation channels.
- Use media outlets to broadcast pertinent information to farmers.
- Prevent exploitation of labor through ending land renting schemes.
- Install heavier taxes for wealthy land owners and speculators that leave land unused when it was meant for agricultural use.
- Help farmers produce healthier products for consumers.
- Reducing subsidies for unwanted produce that ends up rotting in warehouses instead of allowing farmers to grow what consumers really want.
The amended framework is based on the Thai King’s “New Theory” or “self-sufficiency economy,” and mirrors similar efforts found throughout the world attempting to break the back of the oppression and exploitation that results from dependence on a globalized system dominated by multinational corporate monopolies. This includes biotech monopolies over seed, and undue influence in government systems everywhere.
It’s time we all focus on organic, self-sustaining farms to feed ourselves and the world.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.