Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fund the Alternative Agriculture Network! Support independent farmers in creating a sustainable food system

In Uncategorized on 30/06/2016 at 10:40 pm

The AAN needs your support to improve the lives of contract farmers.

The Alternative Agriculture Network in Northeast Thailand is a network of more than 3,000 farming households, devoted to small-scale, sustainable organic agriculture that supports the land and is fair to farmers and customers. They work to steer Thailand’s agricultural system away from exploitative contract farming, and ecologically harmful practices like mono-cropping and use of chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics. The AAN is also thepolitical voice for farmers’ rights in Thailand.  Members of the network support each other and share ideas and resources to help the growth of the entire community.

Not just farmers... in addition to growing food, AAN members are also activists, researchers, and advocates.

Not just farmers: AAN members are also actvists, researchers, and advocates.

Currently, one of the AAN’s new and exciting projects is developing acooperative of independent fish farmers. Thousands of fish farmers in Thailand are trapped in exploitative contracts with the massive multinational corporation CP, similar to Monsanto. These contracts not only take advantage of farmers financially– often leading to hundreds of thousand baht of debt– but also promote practices that are harmful to the river’s ecosystem. The cooperative aims to free fish farmers from the burden of contract farmingand put famers in charge of the whole production cycle, everything from raising the baby fish, developing their own organic food, and creating an alternative market. As a network of independent fish farmers, they can ensure that their small scale, self-sufficient practice is sustainable, fair, and healthy. The fish farming cooperative is just one of many projects changing the lives of  farmers living in northeast Thailand!

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“Collaboration and supporting each other will help create a new community from traditional society. This new community is what the world needs right now.” –Ubon Yoowah

Unfortunately, the AAN operates on an extremely limited budget, and has lost government funding, so it needs donations to maintain the initiatives that are crucial to the livelihood of its members. The Thai government does not support organizations which have a goal of being run by and for the people, so the AAN must raise funds independently. While they work tirelessly to change government policy to support their mission of sustainable agriculture, the AAN needs funds to continue working towards their goals and help the thousands of hard-working families involved.

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Every donation counts. Give today!

ENGAGE has a history of successful collaborations with the AAN, most notably The Jasmine Rice Tour, and many ENGAGE members have exchanged with the AAN and been mentored by its members. Now is the time to show your support for our friends striving to bring justice to Isaan farmers. A small donation will go a long way toward supporting members of the AAN, so any amount you can give is incredibly appreciated.

Thank you!

Statement of Assembly of the Poor Condemns Violence

In Uncategorized on 02/03/2015 at 2:18 am

Condemning the Use of Violence against the Poor to Protect the Capitalists’ Interests

(Thailand, February 14, 2015) On 3 February 2015 Mr. Pianrat Boonrit, the president of an agricultural cooperative, a member of Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand, was summoned by the military for attitude adjustment and detained in a jail in Vibhavadirangsit Military Camp in Surat Thani Province until 5 February 2015. On the same evening the military demolished Permsab Community (a member of the agricultural cooperative, the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand). The community locates in Chaiyaburi District in Surat Thani Province. The community members are struggling for land rights. They held a vigil not allowing the capitalist to enter and harvest oil palms in a national reserved forest of which the concession was expired for 14 years. Later on 11 February 2015 Mr. Chai Boonthonglek, age 61, also a member of the Federation was shot dead.

Yesterday (13 February 2015), the joint armed force of police and military officers guarded a private company’s transportation of the drilling equipment into Ban Na-moon Village, Doon Sad Sub-district, Kra-nuan District in Khonkaen Province to install the drilling rig. The drilling is continuously opposed by local people. Even the National Reform Council, hand-picked by National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) itself, voted 130 to 79 against the petroleum concession policy. But the NCPO does not listen and is stubbornly determined to use violence to clear the path for the capitalists.

Assembly of the Poor sees that these actions demonstrate the thoughtless and excessive abuse of authority, the disrespect of law and the leadership that acts like a doggish servant to the capitalists and is much more evil and wicked than politicians whom NCPO itself overthrew.

Assembly of the Poor condemns such actions of the NCPO. We see that the NCPO is not legitimate to govern the country. Its illegitimacy is even stronger than before. We do not have any demand to NPCO. We would only like to call on to people from all walks of life to oust the NPCO if the NPCO does not immediately return the sovereignty back to people.

” Democracy where people can eat, Politics where the poor matter.”

Assembly of the Poor

14 February 2015


Thai PBS on the Pesticide Crisis

In Research, Uncategorized on 05/02/2011 at 7:20 am

Below are links to Thai PBS news articles from the last month – all focusing on pesticide contamination in the Thai food system.  Thai PBS has become a major ally for the AAN and organic farming throughout the country.  Their documentary-style journalism has helped to expose the risks involved with Thailand’s increasingly agri-business focused economy and the impacts on small-scale farmers.  The stories below are in Thai, but English summaries can be made available.

1. Thailand suspended the export of 16 kinds of vegetables to the EU.   ไทยระงับส่งออกผัก 16 ชนิดไปอียู (2011-01-12) http://www.thaipbs.or.th/s1000_obj/front_page/page/1031.html?content_id=288732

2. Vegetable importers prepared to raise the standards for Thai agricultural products. ผู้นำเข้าพืชผักเตรียมเพิ่มมาตรฐานสินค้าเกษตรไทย (2011-01-13) http://www.thaipbs.or.th/s1000_obj/front_page/page/1031.html?content_id=288803

3. Researchers indicate the contaminants involved in the Thai vegetables crisis นักวิชาการชี้สารปนเปื้อนผักไทยอยู่ในขั้นวิกฤต (2011-01-27) http://www.thaipbs.or.th/s1000_obj/front_page/page/1031.html?content_id=290863 Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts Raised: End of Year Op-Eds

In Uncategorized on 28/12/2010 at 10:08 pm

Thanks to the students of the Fall 2010 CIEE Khon Kaen program for their support.  Here are two Op-Eds that really focus in on important current issues in Thailand’s interdependent rural-urban society:

Rethink the Rural and Urban

Sam Ryals

Globally the number of farmers is on the decline and urban slum populations are on the rapid rise.  Countless people flood to urban centers each year with the hope of prospering only to find that there is little but destitution waiting to welcome them.  Farmers are finding themselves in a similar state of poverty as the urban poor as large corporations snatch up the small farms and replace them with chemical intensive mono cropping.  Who is winning here? The big businesses, the politicians and the government have much to gain as the divide between the rich and the poor is exponentially increasing.  As Monsanto cuts backroom deals with policy makers innocent farmers are falling into bankruptcy because of the unethical business practices of seed patenting.  Read the rest of this entry »


In Uncategorized on 29/11/2010 at 11:24 am

        เมื่อนึกถึง “อาหาร” เรามักนึกถึงอาหารเป็นจานๆ

เมื่อนึกถึง “สถานที่ประกอบอาหาร” เราเห็นภาพแม่ค้าหาบเร่ แผงลอย รถเข็นขายก๋วยเตี๋ยว ร้านอาหารตามสั่ง และภัตตราคารสารพัดรูปแบบที่มีอยู่แทบทุกย่างก้าว มากกว่าเห็นภาพตัวเองหน้ามันย่องทำกับข้าวอยู่ในครัว 

เมื่อนึกถึง “แหล่งที่มาของอาหารสด” คนสมัยนี้น่าจะคิดถึงซุปเปอร์มาร์เก็ตขนาดเล็กขนาดใหญ่ติดแอร์เย็นฉ่ำ มากกว่าคิดถึงตลาดสด แผงขายหมู ขายปลา ขายผัก ขายของชำของแห้ง

“เวลาและระยะทางของการได้มาซึ่งอาหาร” ถูกบีบอัดให้หดแคบเข้าอยู่แถวๆ ร้านสะดวกซื้อ 24 ชั่วโมง ใกล้บ้าน 

    ชีวิตสำเร็จรูปของคนที่อาศัยอยู่ในเมืองใหญ่ห่างไกลจาก “ต้นทางอาหาร” มากขึ้นทุกที เราแทบนึกไม่ออกแล้วว่า ข้าวเปลือก ข้าวสาร พืชผัก เนื้อสัตว์ต่างๆ ที่นำมาปรุงเป็นอาหารในจานนั้น ผลิตมาจากไหน ใครเป็นคนผลิต ผลิตอย่างไร

Read the rest of this entry »

In Support of Alternative Consumerism

In Uncategorized on 14/07/2010 at 10:45 am

A Field in Mahasarakam

Fun yang mai dok,” is the phrase that is commonly heard these days in Northeast Thailand.  The phrase means: it still hasn’t rained.  In these dry conditions farmers are unable to spread rice seed and must either wait patiently for rain to nourish the parched fields that they have already sowed or seek additional employment, which may including helping their neighbors plant rice.  Yet, traipsing along village roads or driving across highways lined with similar auto dealerships and megabusinesses, bridges with bright yellow images of his majesty King Rama IV, and small food stands, one is struck by the vast fields of bright green blades shooting up from the ground.  Read the rest of this entry »

เรื่อง ขอให้รัฐบาลยุติการใช้ความรุ An open letter to the Thai Government and UDD

In Uncategorized on 19/05/2010 at 10:01 am

York University, Toronto, Canada
May 16, 2010
Subject: STOP using violence and repression to dismantle the demonstrators

An open letter to the Thai Government and UDD

On May 14,2010, just one day after Thailand was elected with land slide majority of 182 votes out of 192 members of the United Nations to sit in the UN Human Rights Council (of which the total number of members is 47) the Thai Government seriously breached its own commitments and pledges made during the campaign for the seat. In the campaign, the PM.Abhisit Vejjajiva has committed that “…I can reaffirm that this Government will address problems relating to freedom and liberty and human rights on the basis of accepting them as reality. This is the first crucial step so that every agency, including civil society, recognizes the need to cooperate in seriously solving the problems…if the Government or state officials do not learn how to respect human rights themselves, problems will never end. Read the rest of this entry »

Nigeria, Thailand partner on rice production

In Uncategorized on 18/12/2009 at 8:17 am

Even as Chinua Achebe’s new book is published about his childhood in colonial Nigeria – could this be an opportunity for the “teeming youth jobs” in Nigeria or just a land grab by Thai agribusiness?

This Day | 12.14.2009 also posted on the Food Crisis and The Global Land Grab blog

From Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria and the Republic of Thailand have commenced negotiation and signing of bilateral and investment agreement in commercial agriculture in Nigeria particularly in rice production and processing.

The minister acknowledged that Nigeria is the biggest buyer and consumer of Thai’s rice the world over. He said, “during my meeting with the Thai Minister of Trade, he expressed his country’s willingness to invest in commercial agriculture in Nigeria, particularly rice product and processing.

Other areas of joint venture agreement, according to Udenwa, is Oil and Gas.

He said this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Seventh World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference, held recently in Geneva, Switzerland.

With Thailand as the highest exporter of rice to Nigeria, the minister said it is expedient for both countries to seek better ways of  greater collaboration in the production of the staple food.

He said the cooperation will be in the establishment of rice farms by the Thais in Nigeria’s Free Trade Zones.

Udenwa said the establishment of the joint venture will be  preceded with the exchange of visits at the ministerial and official levels and organization of Trade Missions by the two countries early next year.

He said the process for the signing of a strong economic cooperation and bilateral trade and investment should be initiated by both countries immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

What the North Needs

In Uncategorized on 11/12/2009 at 11:35 am

(Daniel Hertzberg)

December 7, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor

Cap and Fade


AT the international climate talks in Copenhagen, President Obama is expected to announce that the United States wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. But at the heart of his plan is cap and trade, a market-based approach that has been widely praised but does little to slow global warming or reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It merely allows polluters and Wall Street traders to fleece the public out of billions of dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

Yasothon Green Market

In Uncategorized on 10/12/2009 at 9:35 pm