By: Dr. Daljit Singh s/o Karam Singh
BANGKOK – In order to understand agriculture scenarios in other countries that have similar climate and land use for agriculture, a total of 25 students pursuing Master of Land Resource Management (LARM), Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) conducted an academic visit to the School of Agricultural Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, recently.
The visit is to expose students to the agricultural development strategies in Thailand, especially in terms of the development of agricultural students’ personality in a country which is one of the largest food producers in the world.
The students’ arrival, accompanied by two UPM lecturers, Dr. Daljit Singh Karam and Dr. Mohd Rizal Ariffin, was greeted by the Dean, School of Agricultural Resource, Prof. Dr. Kanisak Oraveerakul.
Prof. Dr. Kanisak said the school was set up some 10 years ago, and it paved the way for students to understand and explore their potential in improving the agricultural sector in Thailand.
“The young generation of students that are energetic, creative and innovative are an important resource in empowering the agricultural sector.”
“Mastery of science and technology is crucial in the field of agriculture to enable students to carry out proper agriculture-based projects,” he said.
He further said that one of the successful graduate projects is the ‘Khao Yai - The Mango House Farm’, a garden located at Nong Nam Daeng, Nakhon Ratchasima, which is a local centre for mango enthusiasts which avails the sale of mangoes directly from farms, a mango based food and beverage bistro as well as the sale of mango based products online.
There are over 8,000 mango trees in the garden together with other exotic Thai fruits, such as dragon fruit and papaya. The garden was awarded the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification, and is one of the many tourist attractions in Nong Nam Daeng.
One of the successful projects done by students of the School of Agricultural Resource is the ‘Advanced Pig Farm in Thung Kham, Nan Province’. The project took eight months to complete, and the Chulalongkorn University students helped pig farmers to increase pork distribution in the province by applying eco-friendly concepts.
LARM students also visited the Land Museum, Department of Land Development, Thailand, that features a collection of land profiles taken from all over Thailand.
These land profiles depict the condition and composition of land in Thailand, namely for the reference of land managers and people who are interested in understanding soil fertility and knowing the suitability of planting.
Additionally, their agricultural museum known as the ‘Golden Jubilee of Agriculture’ also displays the agricultural timeline in the White Elephant’s country which answers the question of why Thailand is so obsessed with agriculture although their execution is through conventional methods as 90% of farmers in the country practise traditional agriculture.
Malaysian Agriculture Attache in Bangkok, Mohamad Ezri Shamsuddin was able to take time out to explain to the students that the father of the present Thai King, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927-2016) put great emphasis on the adequacy of food on his people.
“His Majesty’s administration needs to ensure that every citizen has sufficient food, and any surplus can be sold to others,” he said.
LARM Student Leader, Wan Abdul Hadi said that although the use of latest technologies could help improve agricultural productivity, the Thai people have proven that optimal use of agricultural land and sustainable development can ensure their food sovereignty.
“Investment in the latest machinery or equipment does not necessarily guarantee a dream profit return. What is important is human development that is the earnestness and determination of farmers to produce farm produce following the best agricultural practice in their gardens or land,” he said.
According to him, there are business opportunities available to people who wish to become entrepreneurs. One of the most successful businesses is the Royal Project Shop, a centre for the collection and distribution of products based on agriculture that attracts tourists.
Domestic and foreign visits are a key component in the LARM course that offers students the opportunity to view and compare land resource management. - UPM
Updated:: 05/03/2018 [hairul_nizam]
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