For centuries, the rice planting region has been proven to consist of the most fertile soil in the world. These regions have boosted fertile lands that allowed the production of organic crops in addition to rice cultivation. Given the advantage, farmers can now sell organic crops grown additionally through fairer trade arrangements due to their improved quality and increased quantity. However, this region especially hosting paddy productions encounters various obstacles, such as high investment costs, risks of crop failure, and a shortage of labour.
Situated in a drought-prone zone heavily reliant on rainwater for agricultural farming, the Namom Community Enterprise Network in Thailand faced these challenges stemming from irregular rainfall patterns leading to low yields and poor-quality crops, and at times, even crop loss. Given the unpredictability of weather patterns due to climate change, a stable water supply would enable farmers to tackle this challenge and avert crop failures. Upon identifying water management as the most crucial issue, they recognized that there is a need for effective water management that could allow farmer members to prepare their lands for crop cultivation.
In a remote drought-prone area lacking electricity, a water supply pilot project was devised in collaboration with Fairtrade Germany, Fairtrade NAPP and the Nam Om Community Enterprise Network. Funded by Fairtrade Germany under Rice Thailand Project, this pilot project was led by the SPO with the support and supervision of Fairtrade NAPP. The project targeted 9 family members and 2 non-family members who owned paddy fields in the region. To combat water scarcity, a deep well and solar cell system were implemented to pump water for irrigation into the canal. In addition, this project has been projected to indirectly benefit 78 families living in Siripattan village.
The project aims to address several crucial objectives.
1. It seeks to mitigate the impact of future droughts by implementing robust water management strategies.
2. The project aims to enhance and nourish the soil, making it more fertile, through the adoption of suitable crop rotation techniques aligned with each season.
3. It endeavours to create new career opportunities and introduce income diversification for the people within the community that contributes to their economic well-being and sustainability.
By focusing on these goals, the project aims to promote resilience and prosperity in the community while fostering environmental sustainability.
The project implementation involved a systematic approach to address the challenges posed by drought in the area.
1. A thorough exploration of the drought-affected region was conducted to identify suitable locations for drilling underground water sources.
2. Once identified, a skilled technician was hired to carry out the drilling of an underground well.
3. To ensure the successful functioning of the water supply system, necessary equipment such as water pipes, wires, automatic water pumps, solar cells, and control boxes were procured.
4. Another specialized technician was enlisted to handle the installation and testing of the water pump system.
5. The system was then fully installed and operational after making sure the previous steps have been adequately followed.
6. Comprehensive reports were generated to document the project’s progress and outcomes.
7. To boost income diversity among the community members. To achieve the latter, the project introduced new crops like mung beans and soybeans to the farmers. The initiative aimed to empower the community, help them withstand drought conditions, and improve their economic prospects by cultivating these additional crops.
This structured approach to project implementation aimed to effectively alleviate drought-related challenges and promote water accessibility and sustainability in the region. The water supply pilot project has made significant strides in addressing the challenges posed by drought in the remote, drought-prone area of Thailand. By utilizing a deep well and solar cell system, water scarcity has been combated, enabling efficient irrigation of crops through the canals. With a focus on robust water management, enhanced soil fertility, and income diversification, this project strives to promote resilience, prosperity, and sustainability within the community.
” During the dry season, there is no water for planting at all, we cannot plant rice, even water for cow we need to bring from home to feed our cow. There could be water shortage during the rainy season which causes crop failure and leads to loss of investment. This year, we get water from the Rice Thailand project, we hope that we will be able to produce a good crop with a high yield and make a profit for next year’s investment.” – Mrs. Krongmanee Yodsanga.
“Water supply will bring fertility and biodiversity to our area. I hope to see more fish and frogs which we can cook for our family. Last year, it was so dry after sowing the rice seed that a lot of grass grew replacing the rice. The rice was wilting, I got a very low yield. I hope very much to make a better income out of this crop.” – Mr. Phrom Thongfueang
“Usually there was no water in the canal. Often, rice seedlings die and we need to replant the crop, which increases the investment. Without rain, we cannot do anything. We get a poor production in the last year with a low amount of rain. This project brings me hope for better production, better income, and plenty of food as we will have more aquatic animals to feed our family.” – Mrs. Maneechan Jantasing.