A delegation from Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM) led by the committee chair, Senator Francis Pangilinan, was in Thailand from 18 to 23 July 2011 for a study visit of Thailand’s agricultural sector. Honorable Senator Sergio Osmeña III, Member of COCAFM, was also part of the delegation.
During the study visit, the Philippine delegation had briefings on Thailand’s:- Overall agricultural sector and agricultural policies at the Office of Agricultural Economics;- Rubber sector at the Rubber Research Institute of the Department of Agriculture; and
– Irrigation system at the Royal Irrigation Department.
All three offices are with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC).
The delegation’s itinerary also included meetings with officials of the Marketing Organization for Farmers (MOF), where the latter briefed the delegation on the structure and operations of the MOF. (MOF basically helps Thais farmers to market their produce at competitive prices. The MOF, begun under the auspices of Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture in 1971, features 600 vendors approved by provincial agricultural officials for their ability to get the goods from field to stall (at the famous Aor Tor Kor Market in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district) in top condition.)
They also met with the Thai Union Marketing Co., Ltd., the Thai Ethanol Manufacturing Ltd., and farmers groups in Nonthaburi and Nakhon Pathom provinces where the delegation received briefings on farmers activities and the concept of “community enterprise” and the role played by the department of agricultural extension (also under MOAC) in this endeavor.” A “community enterprise” is a group of farmers joining together to coordinate their activities in the production and marketing of their produce, instead of competing with one another. The concept is widely practiced among Thai farmers resulting in higher yields and income for them and their families.
The delegation also visited the Royal Chitralada Projects at the Dusit Palace where they were able to observe royal projects involving rice and vegetable farms, milk (manufactures milk, milk tablets (produced because of surplus of milk, and ice cream), production of spirulina algae (produces chips and supplements in tablet form) and mushroom, paper and candle-making facilities, and an ethanol plant (produces gasohol, diesohol, biodiesel, solid alcohol for warming food, massage oils, cleansing gels, moisturizing and anti-mosquito lotions, vegetable cleansers, foot sprays and soaps).
The 4-day study visit was done in coordination with Thailand’s MOAC.
Senator Francis Pangilinan leads the Philippine delegation in a meeting with the Huay Phra Chemical-Free Vegetable Grower Group in Nakhom Pathom province. After the meeting, the delegation toured the chemcial-free farm.
Senator Pangilinan (M) presents a token to Mr. Somsak Semittiset (R), Factory General Manager of hte Thai Union Manufacturing Co.., Ltd. in Samutsakorn Province. Also in photo is Senator Osmeña.
(photos taken by pmptb)