For the last 6 years, Sampran Riverside has been engaging with local farmers of Nakornpatom province promoting organic agriculture through the Sampran Model. The project operates under Bliss Foundation with funding from Thai Health Promotion Foundation and Thailand Research Fund.
Conventional farmers mostly depend on middlemen who dictate price and specifications for their produces. Farmers therefore could never name their price, yet at the same time, could never control their costs due to rising price of agrochemicals. Farmers’ debt problems worsen whilst their health and environment deteriorate with prolonged use of agrochemicals. This vicious cycle is apparent to most farmers who contribute to approximately 35% of Thailand’s population. Therefore, most our country’s socio-economic problems could be resolved by addressing this unbalanced food supply chain problems.
Sampran Model’s vision is to restore balance of the local food system by finding new market channels, bulk and retail, for farmers who convert from conventional to organic agriculture. Its aim is to link farmers directly to consumers via organic value chain based on fair trade. At present, market channels include Sampran Riverside, Sookjai Weekend Farmer’s Market, Sookjai Market Roadshow and the Sookjai Organics Website.
Working with farmers to enable them to convert to organic agriculture is key. Our team of qualified officers regularly visit groups of farmers to attend to all their needs during conversion period.
New farmers who are interested in organic farming are encouraged to join existing groups of successful organic farmers who are their role models. Here farmers do more than just mere growing but are involved in production planning, post harvest activities, processing, logistics, marketing and branding. In other words, they form groups of organic farmers who are self-reliant and could undertake the complete business model themselves.
At present, there are 11 groups of organic farmers in Nakornpatom and nearby provinces in the project. We employ Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) as a tool to develop groups of farmers and prepare them to be audited to become IFOAM certified organic farmers.
Collaboration with local universities, government agencies and local authorities is crucial to the development of Sampran Model.
We partner with Kasetsart University for cooperatives knowledge, organic agriculture technology, post harvest techniques, logistics, processing and other research projects; with the Department of Internal Trade (Ministry of Commerce) for organic distribution centre and organic village projects; with the Land Development Department (Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives) on the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS); with the Thai Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) on ‘Farm to Functions’ project where hotels and conventional centres buy organic rice directly from groups of farmers and with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote sustainable tourism through organic value chain. This public private partnership (PPP) is a sustainable business model based on fair trade and is in line with his majesty the king’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.