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Posts Tagged ‘Seeds’

Hyrbid rice in Asia

In Our Network, Research on 30/04/2010 at 4:34 pm

A report from our regional network allies:

“In China, where hybrid rice originated, farmers’ experience with hybrid rice is utterly at variance with the glossy advertisements found in nearly every seed shop in town. Read the rest of this entry »

AAN Regional Collaboration: SAEDA Workshop in Xiang Khouang, Lao PDR

In In Solidarity, Network Events, Research on 16/03/2010 at 11:11 am

Sustainable agriculture is growing throughout Southeast Asia, and in some countries, government support and coordination with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is producing positive results.  The work currently being carried out by the Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Development Association (SAEDA), a Lao organization committed to sustainable agriculture and community development, is an example of this movement.

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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.

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Preserving Local Food Culture

In Network Events, Youth Activities on 09/03/2010 at 11:31 am

On the first Saturday in February, AAN Yasothon helped host Ban Non Yang’s 3rd Month Merit-Making Festival.  The festival celebrates the start of a new season, a time when people will work through the hot weather to do maintenance on their homes and other community development projects.  The celebration is also about community welfare, as villagers donate sacks of rice to a community stock, which families can access if they are in need of rice later on during the year.  Like last year, the AAN seized the opportunity to campaign about local foods and indigenous rice varieties.

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AAN Kalasin Seed Exchange Festival

In Network Events, Our Network on 21/01/2010 at 7:27 pm

(click on photos to see the gallery)

Reporting from the Ubon Rice Seed Research Center

In Farmers Groups, Meetings, Network Events, Research on 12/12/2009 at 8:59 pm

There’s a chance that we can have an agricultural system in which farmers grow local varieties with little or no chemicals – Mr. Somsong Chotechuen

Seventy-seven percent of rice production in Thailand is rain-fed.

AAN farmers and staff from throughout Esan and northern Thailand came together on December 1st to exchange about their seed research experiences and findings over the past year with the Ubon Rachatani Rice Seed Research Center.  First we got an update from Joko in Nan province, where farmers are improving seeds independently.  Over two thousand farmers are growing these seeds all over northern Thailand.  More remote places have been able to preserve seeds and these communities tend to be local ethnic groups.  Northern Thailand has preserved many field rice varieties are suitable to the hillsides, but many paddy rice varieties have disappeared from the fields.  But surrounding Chiang Mai, sixty percent of rice is Gor Kor 6.

There are three types of rice – field rice, which is suited to the mountainous ranges of northern Thailand, rain-fed rice, grown throughout Esan, and flooded-paddy rice, which grows in taam ecosystems and was traditionally grown in central Thailand (but has mostly disappeared in this export-intensive region).  There are pure, indigenous varieties, improved varieties, which have bred by and varieties improved by researchers and sold to farmers. Read the rest of this entry »

Indigenous Seed Renaissance: A Network Research Update

In Meetings, Research on 24/08/2009 at 8:18 am

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Indigenous seed preservation and expansion is an essential part of AAN farmers’ sustainable agriculture practices.  Local varieties have a role not only in farm biodiversity, but in community culture and traditions.  A number of varieties have also been found to have unique health benefits and medicinal properties.  These are good enough reasons to plant them, but unfortunately most conventional farmers no longer do: many are in debt and need to continue planting jasmine rice for the mills or lenders they are indebted to (and often need to purchase back low grade rice, after selling their entire crop), others may grow only enough to feed their household and grow cash crops on the remainder of their land, and finally, some farmers are simply not interested in these “low-yielding” or “stiff and un-fragrant” seeds.  The first two cases are examples of the pressures of a market-export-oriented agricultural system.  The last case represents a change in farmers’ mentality and culture about agriculture – there is a dearth of knowledge about these seeds and their characteristics, fear of low-yields and a high value placed on Jasmine 105 rice.

But we don’t seek to rant here about the impacts of Thailand’s Green Revolution.  The AAN has actively supported a small indigenous seed renaissance here in northeastern Thailand for more than ten years.  As this movement has progressed, AAN farmers groups have created local, indigenous seed resources, and invited their communities to join them.  At our meeting in Mahasarakm on Aug. 21, farmers’ groups from Kalasin, Petchabun, Ubon Ratchatani, Roi Et, Yasothon and Mahasarakam provinces gathered to review the past season’s activities and plan for the coming season’s indigenous rice campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

AAN Yasothon – Seed Research Update

In Farmers Groups on 14/08/2009 at 9:42 pm

How do we get more farmers to plant indigenous rice varieties?  This question underlies an important part of our network’s movement for rice seed restoration, preservation and expansion.  Farmers’ groups throughout Esan are working together during this rainy season to plant research and demonstration paddies for at least 140 varieties of sticky and non-glutinous rice.  As our collective seed bank expands, the goal to invite more farmers to plant these seeds becomes a reality.  There are still limitations on many varieties, but a number of seeds that were once commonly planted, or bear significance to local culture are now available for expansion.

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On August 11, the Yasothon rice seed research team gathered to discuss the previous years’ progress, in terms of seed preservation and educational campaigns in local communities.  Sitting together at our network’s center in Ban Kud Hin, Kudchum district, farmers exchanged their experiences and planned next steps with P’ Thoy – AAN regional coordinator based in Mahasarakm province and P’ Sit, a masters’ degree student at Chiang Mai University, carrying out research in support of the network.  I was only able to attend the afternoon session, which was highly productive nonetheless.

The network’s educational campaign – which focuses on expanding production among farmers outside of the AAN farmers’ group – follows a three-step process.  First, information is shared with those interested in local seeds and some seeds are distributed to those committed to participation in the project.  Second, the seed research group comes back together at a later date to critically examine the process – are farmers committed to planting these seeds using proper methods?  What are the seed’s strengths and weaknesses?  Third, a curriculum is developed for the learning process. Read the rest of this entry »