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Saturday, September 29, 2007


Organic rice grower

Boon Them shows his rice field in Bahn Don Mun in Mahasarakham province, north-east Thailand.

Khun Boon has been growing rice organically for about ten years. He claims his field has a yield 2.7 times that of his neighbours. He is also unconventional in his choice of times for planting and harvesting. He works this out astrologically. Scientific? Who knows, but he's happy with his crop and now his neighbours are starting to emulate him.

The neighbours land has been so depleted by chemicals over the years that they can not make the switch overnight. There needs to be a transition time, so they called in the biotechnology experts from Mahasarakham University to give a demonstration on blending the chemicals with organic fertilizers. Over the next few years they'll gradually reduce the chemical fertilizers and increase the organic ones until they become 100% organic.

Bahn Don Mun is already a demonstration village for self sufficiency. Walking through the village, one sees pots converted from old tyres growing a range of herbs by the roadside. They breed chickens, ducks, pigs, frogs and crickets as sources of protein. Little if any food needs to be imported from outside and whatever they produce over their needs is sold. Often the buyers come to them so they don't have to worry about getting their crops to the market.


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