เครือข่ายเกษตรกรรมทางเลือกภาคอีสาน

Seed Records

In Farmers Groups, Research on 09/03/2010 at 12:59 pm

Indigenous rice seed research is a year-long process: from germination to harvest, documentation to report-writing, our farmer-researchers are developing their own approaches to preserving and expanding the indigenous seed base in communities throughout our network.  Researchers from the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation in Bangkok spent the day recently with the Kamet Seed Research Volunteer Group in Yasothon province to help collect a round of data from the group’s research paddy.

Samples from each of the 33 varieties were observed for grain count (yes, counting each grain on each ear of rice – average of 200+), grain length and width, fragrance (need to eat a raw grain to test), and a few other details about it’s characteristics when cooked.  These details will all be part of the Foundation’s annual report on rice seed preservation for AAN Thailand (all 4 regions).  Over today and tomorrow, members of the Kamet research group will join other farmers from throughout Esan at the Ubon Ratchatani Seed Research Center to learn more about rice seed quality selection.  This session is a result of our collaboration with the government’s Rice Department (click to read more about December’s meeting to formalize the research development process).

The unpredictable nature of the seasons is reason enough for farmers to start seeking out local varieties suitable to the range of environmental conditions, yet the high price that Jasmine 105 earns at conventional mills as well as (potentially) the government insurance program, keeps farmers from trying out traditional or indigenous varieties, which may not be as fragrant or soft as Jasmine 105.  The rising price, however, is resulting in large part because of significant weather events in other rice producing countries.  Yet the recent implementation of CAFTA will mean lowering prices.  Such fluctuations should tell farmers it’s time to get away from mono-cropping Jasmine 105 or other improved varieties and get back to growing indigenous seeds.  Thailand’s status at the world’s number 1 exporter doesn’t do much for farmers in Esan – they still deal with debt and environmental health problems.

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