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The reason why the Thais really loved their King

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By Zac B. Sarian

  • NAM DOK MAI MANGO – Photo shows luscious, blemish-free fruits of Nam dok mai mango showcased at the recent SIMA-Asean Agribusiness trade show in Bangkok, Thailand. The fruits were produced by members of a farmers’ cooperative for the local as well as export markets. The fruits are also processed into value-added products like dried mango, mango jam, juice, puree and other byproducts.

  • WELL-LOVED THAI KING – The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now known as King Rama IX, was well loved by the Thais because of his sustained advocacies to help the farmers achieve higher yields and profits in their farming activities. Here, his portrait is displayed in a booth of a farmers’ cooperative at the trade show. Admiring the king is the editor of this page, Zac B. Sarian.

  • DRONE FOR FAST SPRAYING – The drone could be a most useful equipment for spraying fertilizer as well as pesticides on standing crops in the field like rice, corn, fruit trees and many others. The drone was exhibited at the recent SIMA-Asean Agribusiness trade show in Bangkok, Thailand. It can finish the job of spraying one hectare in just 10 to 15 minutes.

  • THAILAND’S IMPROVED BLACK PIG – The Chiang Mai Black Pig was developed by Thai researchers by crossing two small-bodied native pigs with two imported breeds. The resulting black pig is much bigger with excellent meat quality. It was developed for niche markets. The improved breed commands higher prices than the ordinary native strains.

  • OPERATING A TRACTOR BY REMOTE CONTROL – This is a picture of a video that was played non-stop at the recent SIMA-ASEAN Agribusiness trade show in Bangkok. The operator is sitting under a tree while the hand tractor is puddling the field for planting rice without a driver.

  • AWARD-WINNING BAMBOO BOOK – Edgardo Manda, president of the Philippine Bamboo Foundation, Inc. shows a copy of the book titled “Bamboo: The Grass of Hope” which won the “Outstanding Book Awaqrds” for 2018 conferred by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST-Phl). The authors are Drs. Aida C. Baja-Lapis, Armando M. Palihon, Florentino O. Tesoro and Felizardo D. Virtucio. The awarding will be held at the Manila Hotel on July 12 during the Academy’s annual scientific meeting. The contents include production of planting materials, management of bamboo stands for pole and shoot production, ornamental bamboos, ecological functions of bamboos, bamboo biomass for energy, prolonging service life of bamboo, engineered bamboo and others. Hardbound edition costs ­P2,000 while the paperbound is P1,600 per copy.

    Our attendance at the recent Sima-Asean Agribusiness trade show in Bangkok confirmed that the farmers really loved their late king – King Bhumibol Adulyadej now known as King Rama IX. At the exhibit booth of the farmers’ cooperative, the portrait of the late king was prominently displayed.

    Of course it is easy to understand why. We personally know that King Rama IX in his long reign as monarch, had helped farmers cooperatives in a big way. For instance, the biggest dairy co-op in Thailand, the Nong Pho Dairy Cooperative, has been under Royal Patronage. The king himself had put up about half of the capitalization of the cooperative that had a revenue of 1.7 billion baht during our visit some five years ago. He received annual dividends but we were told that he gave that to the co-op for the scholarship of the farmers’ children as well as for research and development (R&D) and extension services.

    For two times, we had visited the Chitralada project of the king in Bangkok within the 100-hectare palace grounds where a virtual agricultural research station was set up complete with a dairy operation that produces fresh and processed cow’s milk, rice byproducts research (briquettes out of rice husk, for instance), many varieties of mushroom, vetiver grass for erosion control, aquaculture and many more.

    The co-ops at the trade show displayed various fruits that included mangoes, many varieties of banana, processed farm produce, horticultural crops and many others.

    HANDTRACTOR SANS DRIVER – One exhibit at the trade show that fascinated visitors was the video of a handtractor puddling the field for planting rice without a driver. The machine is being operated by a guy sitting under a tree with the aid of a remote control gadget.

    The technology was showcased by a farmers’ cooperative in Thailand. While the technology is not yer fully commercialized, it augurs well for other great ideas being developed for agriculture. Perhaps, the new technologies could attract more young people to get into agribusiness. When gadgets such as the one showcased, farming in the Philippines could become more fun.

    DRONES FOR FAST SPRAYING – Another equipment that attracted the visitors at the trade show was the drone that can be used for spraying crops in the field like rice, corn, bananas, fruit trees and many others. The machine could spray foliar fertilizer as well as pesticides.

    Do you know haw fast it can spray one hectare? It takes just 10 to 15 minutes. Toto Barcelona is already ordering a couple of units which he will use for rental spraying. Eugene Gabriel said that he will also buy  one for use in Isabela.

    CHIANG MAI BLACK PIG – The Chiang Mai Black Pig was developed into a big swine by crossing two native pigs from Thailand with two imported breeds. The researchers crossed the Pietrain with the native pig with brownish haircoat. On the other hand, the Meishan pig, also a native, was crossed with Duroc. The purpose was to produce a pig with black haircoat that is bigger and with meat of excellent eating quality for niche markets.

    All along, the crosses with the black haircoat and with good physical characteristics were selected for further crossing. The selected animals in the 5th generation of Pietrain x Native were crossed with the 5th generation of the Duroc x Meishan crosses. The result is the Chiang Mai Black Pig.

    ABOUT SIMA – The Paris-based Salon de la Machine Agricole (SIMA), one of the biggest agricultural trade show organizers in Europe, staged the Asean edition of the trade show for the first time in Bangkok last year. The second edition was held last June 6-8 at the Impact Convention and Exhibition Center. It is a promising trade show that will keep the Asean farmers abreast of the latest technologies in agriculture. Among the SIMA officials we met in Bangkok were Jean Hugues Barsot, key account manager, and Gillaume Cointereau, communication manager. Sophie Huoch, a young staff coordinator, was most helpful in attending to the needs of the hosted visitors.

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