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Posts Tagged ‘Biofuels’

Sugarcane: A Classic Example of Contract Farming

In Our Network, Research, Youth Activities on 09/11/2009 at 4:20 pm

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From Prachadrama News Net June 9, 2008

Written and Photos by Tipakson Mapati, Prachadhrama News Net and Siriluk Sriprasit, Localtalk

Translated by Tipakson Manpati

Sugarcane is not only an important raw material for sugar industry. Nowadays it is more important concerning production of Ethanol fuel. The Ethanol is another means toward energy’s security improvement that many countries all over the world are focusing on, especially when the price of fossil fuel is soaring and will be exhausted from the earth by decades.

In the Northeastern Thailand, sugarcane has been promoted by the government as a commercial field crop for 30-40 years. Numerous rice farmers began cultivating sugarcane as their extra earnings. Read the rest of this entry »

AAN Photo Updates

In Farmers Groups, Meetings, Network Events, Research on 11/10/2009 at 3:35 pm

Please click on the photos below to see slideshows from some of the AAN’s recent activities

Esan Green Market Network Meeting – Mahasarakam, Oct. 8

P’ Mao’s Contract Farming Research Conclusion – Mahasarakam Agriculture University, Oct. 7

Asian People’s Solidarity for Climate Justice – Bangkok, Oct. 3-5

Indigenous Seed Saving Exchange with the ANN North – participants from Nan, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Prae, Mahasarakam, Yasothon, Kalasin – Sept. 20-22

Climate Justice!

In In Solidarity, Network Events on 11/10/2009 at 8:35 am

For Immediate Release

October 3-4, Bangkok, Thailand – This weekend the Alternative Agriculture Network joined with environmental networks, civil society organizations and peoples’ movements for the two-day climate conference, “Asian Peoples’ Solidarity for Climate Justice.”  This conference was organized by the Thai Working Group for Climate Justice as a parallel event to the Climate Change Talks hosted at the United Nations in Bangkok.  As an organization of small-scale farmers directly affected by climate change, we view the UN policy-making process as important challenges for our network to engage with.  On October 4, AAN Esan coordinator Ubon Yoowah spoke on a panel focusing on Reducing Emissions Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).  The presentation focused on 4 major points:

  1. The Alternative Agriculture Network works to create small-scale sustainable agriculture systems.  We believe that sustainable agriculture creates ecological balance and utilizes carbon that would otherwise be emitted in less efficient systems.
  2. Large-scale production and agro-industry destroys nature’s balance and production processes emit the three major greenhouse gasses, especially nitrous oxide and methane.  Feedlots and CAFOs are significant examples of this environmentally destructive process.
  3. Biofuels are promoted as a solution and opportunity for producers in the Global South, but will only create greater resource exploitation and competition.  This will especially be the case when integrated into carbon markets and trading.
  4. The UN must support sustainable agriculture and develop mechanisms for farmer-based education, research and participation.  The UN must also support community energy production and management as an alternative to large-scale production schemes.

Read the rest of this entry »

An Oil Palm Predicament

In Research on 18/08/2009 at 6:37 pm

Growing cash crops like sugarcane, cassava, eucalyptus and rubber have become appealing options for struggling rice farmers throughout the northeast.  Farmers can easily sign up with local mills and receive seedlings or seeds and plant these crops in their rice paddies, without much knowledge of how to grow these crops or the proper way to manage inputs.  For many, they are seen as potentially more lucrative and lower risk to grow than rice.  Yet these crops have mostly generated new debt and binding contracts with mills, while destroying farmers’ food sovereignty.  Prices for cassava and eucalyptus remain very low, and given high investment costs, it remains very difficult to generate any profit.  Unfortunately, this has also been the case for rubber and oil palm producers in southern Thailand.

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Oil palm has long been grown in southern Thailand, as the region’s climate and soils are well suited to this crop.  Researchers and farmers have developed varieties that produce yields close to those in Malaysia, a country long known for its oil palm production.  Over the past five years, these varieties have been introduced to several provinces in northeastern Thailand for research and oil production.  It’s introduction, however, has generated both opportunities and burdens for small-scale farmers.

Over the past weekend, the AAN traveled to Loei and Nongkhai provinces to learn more about the progress of oil palm in this northern part of Esan.  Is growing oil palm an opportunity for villagers?  In terms of production and markets, what are the limitations?  Where are the connections and relationships – how are seedlings getting distributed?  How is the Oil Palm Research Center in Nongkhai involved? Read the rest of this entry »