Kyusei Nature Farming and the adaptation of farmers in the Isan Region of Thailand, K Pangsoi

Tags: European Journal of Social Sciences, Nature Farming, organic fertilizers, Mahasarakham University, Kyusei Nature Farming, Thailand, Agriculture, chemicals, Organic Fertilizer, Effective Microorganisms, Bangkok, Kasetsart University, Organic Agriculture, degrees Celsius, Teruo Higa, National Economic and Social Development Plan, University Publishers, Microorganisms, Sukhothai Tammatirat University, Natural Farming, Kyusei Natural Farming, natural methods, Mokichi Okada, alternative agriculture, Isan region, the temperature, Effective Microorganism, Church of World Messianity, Nakhon Ratchasima, Development, Journal of Social Sciences, Sukhothai Tammatirat University Publishers, National Institute of Development Administration, local government, Kyusei Nature Farming System, Isan, Sekai Kyusei Kyo, document study
Content: European Journal of social sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) Kyusei Nature Farming and the Adaptation of Farmers in the Isan Region of Thailand Kosit Pangsoi Research Institute of North-Eastern Arts and Culture, Mahasarakham University Khamriang Sub-District, Kantarawichai District Maha Sarakham Province, Thailand Abstract The majority of the population of the Isan Region of North-Eastern Thailand works in agriculture. Before the National Economic and Social Development Plan was implemented about forty years ago, the majority of farmers used natural methods to grow their crops. Following the introduction of the plan, the farmers began to use chemical aids when growing their crops in the field. This change resulted in many environmental problems. The agricultural products also had a negative effect on the health of consumers. As a result, research has been undertaken to find natural components for organic fertilizers and there has been a drive towards natural agricultural methods so to minimize the harmful sideeffects of chemicals on the environment. However, the new organic fertilizers must still benefit agriculture in the same ways and to the same standards as chemically manufactured fertilizers. They must display characteristics of Alternative agriculture, or sustainability, and ensure a balance between agriculture and nature. This research has two aims. The first aim is to study the background of the Kyusei Nature Farming System and the second aim is to study the adaptation of farmers in the Isan region to the methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System. This study is a cultural qualitative research. The data were collected using document study, field study, basic survey, unstructured interview, structured interview, participant and non-participant observation and focus groups. The data obtained were then analyzed to address the problems found under the two aims. The result of this study found that Kyusei Nature Farming is an agricultural system formed from the principles and philosophy of Mokichi Okada (Meishu-sama), a Japanese man who believed in learning the power of nature by maintaining the integrity of the soil, and followed the philosophy that Nature Farming is giving the soil life. These beliefs conform to nature and consider the ecosystem by using Effective Microorganisms. Dr. Teruo Higa discovered and disseminated these principles. The Effective Microorganisms were imported to Thailand in the year 1986 and the Kyusei Nature Farming Centre was found in Saraburi Province under the authority of Sekai Kyusei Kyo (The Church of World Messianity). The centre was open to everybody for the study of agriculture, domestic animals, fishery or the environment. With regards the adaptation of farmers in the Isan region to the methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System, it was found that they initially altered their own standpoint towards chemical substances when they came to learn the theory, practice the methods and observe the realities of the Kyusei Nature Farming network in other areas of Thailand. The farmers began to adopt the Nature Farming methods when they realized the potential benefits for themselves, their families and the larger community. The benefits included increased profit margins through lowering of costs, following the philosophy of `Sufficiency Economy', which theorizes that one should try to live life by self-sufficient means. The research concludes that Nature Farming in the Isan Region of Thailand at the present time is an alternative form of agriculture, one method of many. The general 471
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) population also accepts and implements this theory. The methods are implemented because they are part of a government policy, which gives the farmers importance, support, a higher monetary income and ensures that all food produced is safe and nutritious. This policy will develop the farming community as a strong and socially important group in the future. Keywords: Natural Agriculture, Kyusei Nature Farming, Farmers, Adaptation 1. Introduction Thailand is an agricultural society. More than fifty percent of the population works in farming. Before the National Economic and Social Development Plan was implemented about forty years ago, the majority of farmers used natural methods to grow their crops and heavily relied upon crop rotation techniques. In Thailand, there are three main seasons. At the beginning of the wet season, the farmers used to grow rice. Mid-way through the rainy season, they would harvest the rice and grow beans or sesame. When the cold season arrived, the farmers would grow hardy vegetables or use the land for pastoral farming. In the dry and hot summer season, the land would be left fallow. This process was performed without the use of chemicals. Following the implementation of the National Economic and Social Development Plan, the farmers began to use more chemicals in the fields (Bunshu Rodjanasatien, 2003, p. 145). When the authorities checked the surrounding environment, they found high levels of chemicals in the local soil, water and river sediments, which are potentially harmful for consumers (Porntip Dipsee, 2004, Introduction). Now, safe, good-quality, organic produce is popular with both consumers and farmers because they want to avoid the unhealthy chemicals found in non-organic produce (Chayapa Chotiyasiti, 2005, p. 7). However, the farmers were using increasingly more chemical fertilizers (Sopit Wetthayasuporn and Preeyaporn Itsaranuwat, 2005, p. 176). The chemicals from these non-organic fertilizers are transferred to the crops and can cause human death if eaten. An investigation into the levels of chemicals in crops in 2003 found that white cabbage contained the highest chemical content at 10.95%. The second highest chemical content was 8.84% in chili peppers and the third highest was 8.61% in coriander. Rice and morning glory were found to contain no traces of chemicals. In 2001, 3.3 million tons of fertilizer was imported to Thailand at a cost of 20,463 million baht. Only 25% of the chemicals contained within the fertilizers were used ­ meaning that 75% were released into the local environment (Mongkun Da-oon, 2006, pp.43-44). These statistics highlight a need to use natural resources for the production of agricultural fertilizers. Organic fertilizers were produced, with the aim of replicating the performance of the chemical-based products. Each year there are many unused natural products left over from the agricultural process, such as rice straw, rice husks, nut-shells, sugar-cane stalk, corn husks, cassava plant and cotton plant. This is an enormous catalogue of waste-material, much of which could be used to create organic fertilizers (Sopit Wetthayasuporn and Preeyaporn Itsaranuwat, 2005, pp. 176-77). The utilization of these waste products for further agricultural processes is a form of sustainability. The first man to notice the potential of this method was Japanese national Mokichi Okada, who announced his pioneering new methods in 1935 (Heaven on Earth, 1995, pp.74-5). Okada's premise for his `Nature Farming' was that nature is the most important and powerful resource in agriculture and cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind. In turn, he placed importance upon the soil and suggested that good soil is an extremely powerful production tool, which can only be fully effective if it is untarnished. From 1936 onwards, Mokichi Okada studied and investigated Nature Farming following these principles. His work was continued by Dr. Teruo Higa of The University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan. Dr. Teruo Higa was most interested in Okada's principle that the soil has life and so invented Effective Micro-Organisms to use on the farms, benefitting both the economy and safety standards. 472
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) In 1976, The Church of World Messianity, led at the time by Kazuo Wakugami, brought the Effective Micro-Organisms to Thailand under the recommendation of Dr. Teruo Higa. In 1988, Mr. Wakugami established Kyusei Nature Farming Centre in Saraburi Province. The centre became the location of conventions and seminars for farmers across Thailand and beyond (Kyusei Natural Farming Fair, Volume 15, 2006, p. 94). There are three branches of The Church of World Messianity in the Isan region of Northern Thailand, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani Provinces. The duty of these branches is to spread the Kyusei Natural Farming doctrine to other members of the network and to the general population. In 1997, Colonel Pichet Wisayjorn brought the Effective Microorganisms to the Thai Sufficiency-Economy project and found them to be beneficial for farming because they reduced overhead capital and increased production, particularly of rice, watermelon and chili pepper. The Effective Microorganisms also had no negative effects on the water, soil and environment. The technique of the Effective Microorganisms has now met widespread acceptance, including from the government, councils and private organizations (Sopit Wetthayasuporn and Preeyaporn Itsaranuwat, 2005, p. 178). The relationship between scientific knowledge and the lifestyle of the people of Isan is integrated with the beliefs and trust of culture and religion. The farmers of the Isan region are searching for a solution to economic, social and environmental problems inherent with an everchanging agricultural system. It is hoped that this research will supplement their knowledge and be of use to them in adapting their lifestyles to the demands of their profession. 2. research methodology This study will use a qualitative method. The aims of the research are 1) to study the background of the Kyusei Nature Farming System and 2) to study the adaptation of farmers in the Isan region to the methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System. The scope of the study is the three provinces Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani in the North-Eastern Isan Region of Thailand. Nakhon Ratchasima has a population of 2,591,050 and an area of 21,239.99 km2. Roi-Et has a population of 1,322,389 and an area of 8,299.46 km2. Ubon Ratchatani has a population of 1,777,074 and an area of 16,112.65 km2. The sample of the study is comprised of the members of The Church of World Messianity in the three provincial branches of Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani. The sample was selected by Purposive sampling. The Key Informants for the study were the leaders of The Church of World Messianity, representatives of the Kyusei Nature Farming network, the local councils and private businesses in three provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani. The General Informants were the members of The Church of World Messianity in the three provincial branches of Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani. The Casual Informants were farmers who practiced Kyusei methods in three provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi-Et and Ubon Ratchatani. The data were primarily collected by document study, field study, basic survey, unstructured interview, structured interview, participant and non-participant observation and focus groups. The data obtained were then analyzed to address the problems found under the two aims. The field study began in August 2008 and finished in 2009. 3. Results and Discussion 3.1. The Background of the Kyusei Nature Farming System 3.1.1. The Contents of the Soil Soil is comprised of 25% water, 25% gas, 5% organic material and 45% inorganic material. 3.1.2. Reasons for the Destruction of Soil 3.1.2.1. Soil is destroyed by chemicals used by the farmer. 473
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) 3.1.2.2. Soil is destroyed because plants absorbed all nutritious content. 3.1.2.3. Soil is destroyed by burning, especially after crops have been harvested. 3.1.2.4. Soil is destroyed by direct sunlight and overheating. 3.1.2.5. Soil is destroyed by excess water and flooding. 3.1.3. The Role of Microorganisms The following three categories of microorganism are fundamental to the process of decomposition. 3.1.3.1. Fungi The presence of fungi reduces the temperature of the decomposition process and kind and quantity of the fungi depends on the materials comprising the fertilizing agent. If the temperature is greater than 65 degrees Celsius, there will be no fungi present. When the temperature is low, Geotrichum candidrum and Aspergillusfumigatus fungi will be found. If the temperature is between 45 and 55 degrees Celsius, the varieties of fungi present will be Cladosporium sp. Aspergillus sp. and Mucor sp. If the temperature is between 55 and 65 degrees Celsius, Penicillium duponti fungi will be present. 3.1.3.2. Bacteria Bacteria are the most common type of micro-organism found in organic fertilizers, at about 80-90% of the total micro-organism count. The most common types of bacteria found are Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Cellulomonas sp., Flavobacterium sp. and Micrococcus sp. Similar to fungi, there are three distinct temperature ranges at which different bacteria are to be found, specifically 50-55 degrees Celsius, 65-70 degrees Celsius and greater than 70 degrees Celsius. 3.1.3.3. Actinomycetes Actinomycetes act slower than fungi and bacteria. The optimum temperature range is 65-75 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is greater than 75 degrees Celsius, Actinomycetes will not be found. 3.1.4. The Effects of Microorganisms in Liquid Organic Fertilizer 3.1.4.1. Bacteria The role of bacteria in liquid organic fertilizers is to decompose large molecules of dead vegetable and animal matter into small molecules. There are three primary types of bacteria for this function. 3.1.4.1.1. Bacillus Sp Bacillus sp. is a group of Ammonifiers, which also produce the enzyme Protease. The Protease changes protein molecules into smaller molecules by the process of Hydrolysis. The large protein molecules are broken down into Polypeptides, Oligopeptides and amino acids. If there is enough Oxygen, Aerobic Proteolysis will occur, giving rise to Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia, Sulphates and Water. 3.1.4.1.2. Lactic Acid Bacteria Lactic Acid Bacteria are used in the decomposition of sugars. The decomposition process produces lactic acid, formic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide. These bacteria are particularly important in liquid fertilizers comprised of material with high-sugar content. 3.1.4.1.3. Acetic Acid Bacteria These bacteria are rod-shaped cocci and they are a group of Gram Negative Aerobic Bacteria, in the family Pseudomonadaceae. Acetic Acetic Bacteria break down ethanol into Acetic Acid by Oxidation. 3.1.4.2. Fungi 3.1.4.2.1. Yeast 474
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) Yeast helps to change sugars into Ethyl Alcohol and Carbon Dioxide. Yeast is used for the process of fermentation. 3.1.4.2.2. Ray Fungi Ray fungi need Oxygen and can be found at the top of the liquid organic fertilizer, acting on sugars. 3.1.5. How to Make Organic Fertilizer Organic fertilizer is made by the process of fermentation, using vegetables and dead animal matter. There are three methods for the production of organic fertilizers: 3.1.5.1. Waste matter should be put in one of three places: 1) a pit dug in the ground, 2) a pit dug in the ground and lined with concrete or 3) a raised concrete pit. All three should be covered with soil, so to prevent exposure to the outside atmosphere. The waste matter should be left for a long period of time, so to allow for a successful fermentation process. The waste matter should be kept at a low temperature and will give off an unpleasant smell. By-products of this process are hormones, vitamins, humic acid, organic acids, ethanol, phenol, enzymes and methane gas. 3.1.5.2. Waste materials with high water content (fruit, vegetables and fish) should be put into a plastic rubbish container along with water, molasses and micro-organisms to ensure rapid decomposition. This should be left for 45-80 days. By-products of this process are hormones, vitamins, humic acid, organic acids, ethanol, phenol, enzymes and methane gas (Tongchai Mala, 2001, pp.37-8). 3.1.5.3. Waste materials should be piled on the ground and periodically mixed so that the microorganisms have a good supply of oxygen. The temperature should be high and decomposition will be fast with no unpleasant smell. By-products of this process are hormones, vitamins, humic acid, organic acids, ethanol, phenol, enzymes and methane gas. 3.1.6. Materials Used in the Production of Organic Fertilizer 3.1.6.1. Natural Materials Straw, dry leaves, plant stems, husks, fruit skin and molasses 3.1.6.2. Factory-Produced Materials Molasses from sugar factories, sawdust from lumber mills, fruit skin from canning factories and deposits from water treatment plants 3.1.6.3. Domestic and Agricultural Materials Leaves, grass and animal manure 3.1.6.4. Living Materials Water hyacinths 3.2. The Methods of Kyusei Nature Farming The most crucial aspect of Nature Farming is the use of Effective Microorganisms. The concept can be summarized as selecting the best micro-organisms for the decomposition process and thus the production of optimum fertilizers (EM with Nature Farming, 2001, p.3). 475
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) 3.2.1. General Characteristics of Effective Microorganisms Effective Microorganisms are often found in the form of a brown, sweet-and-sour-smelling liquid. Effective Microorganisms cannot work with chemical supplements and are not dangerous for humans, animals, plants or insects. 3.2.2. Benefits of Effective Microorganisms Effective Microorganisms are beneficial for all kinds of plants, animals and the environment because they help to eliminate all kinds of chemicals from the soil, water and air. Effective Microorganisms can change the pH value of acidic or alkaline soil to neutral. Effective Microorganisms can decompose plants or animals into organic fertilizers. 3.2.3. Specifications of Effective Microorganisms Effective Microorganisms are living and should be kept at normal room temperature, about 20-45 degrees Celsius. There are two kinds of Effective Microorganisms, liquid Effective Microorganisms and solid Effective Microorganisms: 3.2.3.1. Using Effective Microorganisms in Liquid Form Liquid Effective Microorganisms can be adapted to repel insects and can be adapted to work in combination with hormones. `EM5' or Sudochu is used to repel insects. If there are many insects, `Super-EM5' will be used, especially in fisheries and of pastoral farms. EMFPE (Effective Microorganism Fermented Plant Extract) acts as a fertilizer hormone and is an immunizing agent. There are two main categories of hormones that work with Effective Microorganisms. The first category, fruit hormones, is a group of high-quality natural hormones, which are used as rooting hormones. The second category is other hormones. 3.2.3.2. Using Effective Microorganisms in Solid Form The name for EM Bokashi is derived from the Japanese Bokashi, meaning `fermented organic matter'. EM Bokashi is organic material that has been fermented with Effective Microorganisms. There are five forms of EM Bokashi. The first form of the Effective Microorganism is derived from manure, the second is derived from straw, the third ­ named `Super Bokashi' ­ is a high quality Effective Microorganism mixed with animal food, the fourth form is `Bokashi 24-Hour', used to ferment leaves, grass and other vegetation over a period of twenty-four hours, and the fifth form, `EM Bokashi Soil', helps rooting. 3.2.4. Using Effective Microorganisms with Plants The three important forms of Effective Microorganisms for use with plants are, Activated Effective Microorganisms, EM Bokashi and either EM5 or EMFPE. The Effective Microorganisms must not be used with chemical substances. 3.2.5. Using Effective Microorganisms on Pastoral Farms The three important forms of Effective Microorganisms for use on pastoral farms are, Concentrated Effective Microorganisms, Activated Effective Microorganisms, and either EM5 or EMFPE. The Concentrated Effective Microorganisms should be combined with water at the ratio 1:5000 and fed to animals. If Activated Effective Microorganisms are used, they should be combined with water at the ratio 1:500 and used to create a mist in the animals' habitat. If the animal is sick, they should be given a dose of Concentrated Effective Microorganisms. 3.2.6. Using Effective Microorganisms in Fisheries The five important forms of Effective Microorganisms for use in fisheries are, Concentrated Effective Microorganisms, Activated Effective Microorganisms, `EM Bokashi', `Super EM5' and `Super 476
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) Bokashi'. Activated Effective Microorganisms or `EM Bokashi' should be added to the water in which the fish live. 3.2.7. Using Effective Microorganisms with the Environment For waste disposal, add Effective Microorganisms to rubbish bags, bury the bags and leave to decompose. To eliminate unpleasant smells created by manure, use a solution of Activated Effective Microorganisms and spray a mist in the affected area. For water filtration, add Activated Effective Microorganisms or EM Ball (Danghonga) in a stagnant reservoir, before releasing the water. For wetwaste disposal, empty rubbish bags in a large plastic container with `EM Bokashi', ferment for seven days and use the product for watering plants. 3.3. The Adaptation of Farmers in the Isan Region to the Methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System The following examples are of farmers who have studied the methods of Kyusei Nature Farming and have since adapted their own techniques with success. 3.3.1. Case study One: The Kyusei Nature Farming Centre in Champakpraew Sub-District, Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi Province under the authority of The Church of World Messianity The Kyusei Nature Farming Centre in Champakpraew Sub-District, Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi Province is home to all forms of farming that can be affected by the use of Effective Microorganisms, including arable, pastoral and fisheries. This centre was the first location in Thailand to adopt the principles of Kyusei Nature Farming and was established specifically for this purpose. The centre used all forms of Effective Microorganisms on its farms and used no chemical supplements, whilst encouraging many farmers to learn the new practices. There were no problems encountered by the centre and it generated a large interest with visiting farmers, who came to view demonstrations and seminars. 3.3.2. Case Study Two: Mrs. Jambee Puayuan ­ Member of The Church of World Messianity, Nakhon Ratchasima Branch Mrs. Jambee Puayuan is a member of The Church of World Messianity, Nakhon Ratchasima Branch, who owns fruit and vegetable farms. Mrs Puayuan previously worked on farms in Ubon Ratchatani and frequently used chemicals on her crops. When Mrs. Puayuan ate her crops, she complained of poor health and restricted mobility. Upon learning and implementing the techniques promoted by the Nakhon Ratchasima branch of The Church of World Messianity, Mrs. Puayuan noticed a marked increase in her health and particularly her mobility. Mrs Puayuan also noticed a steady increase in her monthly profit margins. 3.3.3. Case Study Three: Mr. Sombong Nimpimai, Mushroom Farmer Mr. Sombong Nimpimai is a mushroom farmer from Nakhon Ratchasima. Mr. Nimpimai began using Effective Microorganisms in the year 2002. He uses both liquid and solid Effective Microorganisms to enhance the soil before growing his mushrooms, as well as EM5 to repel insects and fruit hormones to feed the mushrooms. The effectiveness of the adoption of this technique was clearly observed by Mr. Nimpimai, who reaped profits from three mushroom growing sites within 15-20 days of the implementation of the new techniques. 3.3.4. Case Study Four: King Rama I Golf Course, Roi-Et The King Rama I Golf Course, Roi-Et Province, had a detrimental effect on the local environment through its waste disposal and the chemicals it used to maintain the fairways and greens of the course. Colonel Pichet Wisayjorn gave the head green-keeper Effective Microorganisms to try and remedy the 477
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) problem (Patpong Bunlert, 2007, pp.34-6). Prior to the implementation of the techniques suggested by Colonel Wisayjorn and the use of EM Bokashi and organic fertilizers, the cost of maintaining the course was at 20,000 baht per month, which has been dramatically reduced since. 3.3.5. Case Study Five: Dong Na Tam Capacity Building and Knowledge Management Project for Sustainable Forest Utilization Before the Dong Na Tam Capacity Building and Knowledge Management Project for Sustainable Forest Utilization, the people of the Dong Na Tam forest area had many health problems. After a royal visit, Colonel Pichet Wisayjorn was entrusted with the management and conservation of the forest area. Colonel Wisayjorn implemented three plans: 1) developing the quality of life, 2) creating strategies for the nature and environment, and 3) improving forest security. Colonel Wisayjorn encouraged the 300,000 inhabitants of the 17 villages to learn the Kyusei Nature Farming method for cost reduction by the use of Effective Microorganisms and reduction of chemical fertilizers. 3.3.6. Case Study Six: Lieutenant General Bunlert Kempet Lieutenant General Bunlert Kempet is a retired military officer and current local source of knowledge of the Kyusei Nature Farming system in Ubon Ratchatani. Upon retirement Lieutenant General Kempet spent his time farming chicken, fish and fruit, using the Effective Microorganism techniques recommended by Colonel Wisayjorn. His successful production of organic fertilizer saw many locals turn to him as a source of knowledge for the new technique, for which he is now locally recognized. 4. Conclusion This study of Kyusei Nature Farming and the adaptation of farmers in the Isan region of Thailand has drawn the following conclusions in line with the two aims of the research: 4.1. The Background of the Kyusei Nature Farming System Kyusei Nature Farming is a technical theory that originated in Japan. It has become a popular farming system in Thailand using the principles and philosophies of Mokichi Okada. The basic principle of Nature Farming stresses the importance of studying the power of nature and the maintenance of good soil, following the philosophy that Nature Farming is how to give the soil life. Equal emphasis is placed upon making the farming system conform to nature. The quality of farming produce will be determined by the ecosystem, which, if unharmed, will produce safe, nutritious and sustainable food. The patterns of Nature Farming follow the guidelines of Mokichi Okada's theory, in which soil held prime importance. Okada observed what he considered to be the original pattern of an ecosystem based upon good soil: the forest. He used forest soil as a base for comparison to other soil types and determined four descending levels. He found that the uppermost stratum of soil contained dry leaves and tree branches. The second stratum was comprised of leaves and tree branches that had begun to decompose. The third stratum was comprised of leaves and tree branches that had fully decomposed and mixed with the soil. The final stratum was comprised of hard, non-organic soil. When leaves and branches decompose and mix with the soil, there are small micro-organisms in the mixture, which are undetectable by the naked eye. This part of the soil is the source of most rooting. The smell of the soil is similar to mushrooms and as such the soil is named `organic soil'. The aims of Nature Farming are threefold: 1) to produce good quality products without having a detrimental effect on human health, 2) to increase produce every year without destroying the soil, and 3) to produce to the same quantity as if chemical enhancements were used and increase the family economy of the farmer. Kyusei Nature Farming is a natural agricultural system that uses Effective Microorganisms, as discovered by Dr. Teruo Higa. Dr. Higa introduced the science of Kyusei Nature Farming. In line with the ideas of Mokichi Okada, the use of Effective Microorganisms can improve the soil. There are many 478
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) types of Microorganism, including fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes. The principles of Kyusei Nature Farming are: 1) decomposing matter should be covered ­ if the vegetable plot is covered, the quality of the soil is improved, 2) the soil should not be rotovated as this brings the good soil to the top of the ground, thus too high for rooting, and 3) non-chemical farming conserves the environment and produces sufficient food of a high quality for the expansion of the world population. These beliefs conform to nature and consider the ecosystem by using Effective Microorganisms. Dr. Teruo Higa discovered and disseminated these principles. The Effective Microorganisms were imported to Thailand in the year 1986 and the Kyusei Nature Farming Centre was founded in Saraburi Province under the authority of Sekai Kyusei Kyo (The Church of World Messianity). The centre was open to everybody for the study of agriculture, domestic animals, fishery and the environment. With regards the adaptation of farmers in the Isan region to the methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System, it was found that they initially altered their own standpoint towards chemical substances when they came to learn the theory, practice the methods and observe the realities of the Kyusei Nature Farming network in other areas of Thailand. In 1997, Colonel Pichet Wisayjorn brought the Effective Microorganisms to the Thai Sufficiency-Economy project in his position as the leader of the Learning Centre of King Bhumibol's Philosophy of Economic Sufficiency. 4.2. The Adaptation of Farmers in the Isan Region to the Methods of the Kyusei Nature Farming System The philosophy of economic sufficiency stresses self-reliance and the maximization of the materials at one's disposure and emphasizes the following three philosophies for successful adaptation and adoption of the Kyusei Farming System: 4.2.1. Moderation Moderation means exercising self-control or temperance. Do not want more or less than is necessary. This philosophy is applicable to Nature Farming using three principles: 1) the use of Effective Microorganisms reduces input costs and thus enables a farmer to make more money than they spend, 2) the farmer should disseminate the idea of Natural Farming to the local area, and 3) the farmer must not use excessive quantities of Effective Microorganisms as the soil has a saturation point. Once the optimum quantity of Effective Microorganisms is present in the soil, any additional Microorganisms will have no effect. 4.2.2. Reasonableness This philosophy is of cause and effect, and means that when an optimum level has been decided, input and output of the processes must be weighed up and deemed reasonable outcomes. The principles for the use of Effective Microorganisms are threefold: 1) the methods used should be valid for the conservation of the environment, 2) adaptation should be to a suitable and achievable level and 3) the mindset of the proponent should always be regarding the environment and community, rather than profits and self-interest. 4.2.3. Self-Immunity The individual must be prepared for the effects of adaptation and future situations. The principles for the use of Effective Microorganisms are: 1) the effects on the environment should be significantly reduced, 2) overhead capital should be reduced, and 3) input quantities should be reduced, whilst maintaining the same production levels, especially chemical input. 5. Recommendations and Suggestions As a result of the research, the following suggestions have been made: 479
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) 5.1. Suggestions for Kyusei Natural Farming 5.1.1. The local government must be directly responsible for the farmers and should advise the locals in the consistent and effective use of Nature Farming procedures. The local government should also organize demonstrations and seminars into the practices of making organic fertilizers with Effective Microorganisms. The materials and budget for these plans should be supported by the local government, using an `efficient administration and management system' (Somchob Poo-Inna, Songkoon Jantakajon and Terdchai Pantachai, The Research Institute of North Eastern Arts and Culture, Mahasarakham University, p.411). 5.1.2. The local government should provide farmers with information and current news as well as help market the techniques. 5.1.3. Markets for selling organic fertilizer should be near the communities where they are produced, for ease and comfort of access. 5.1.4. The local government should campaign the people to eat safe and nutritious food that has been grown without the use of chemical supplements. 5.2. Suggestions for Further Research 5.2.1. Further research should concern consumer behavior patterns when selecting organic goods and compare the trends of rural and urban society in buying nutritious produce. 5.2.2. Further research should occur every three years so the local government can analyze the health of consumers and plan effective campaigns to combat any problems. 5.2.3. Further research should concern the levels of interest in Kyusei Nature Farming, within the Thai agricultural community. References [1] Argyis, C. and Schon, D., Organization Learning: Theory, Method and Practice, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1978. [2] Banyagun, Witun, Sustainability, The Way of Agriculture in the Future, Bangkok, Green Net Publishers, 2001 [3] Boas, Frank, Race, language and culture, New York: The Free Press, 1966. [4] Breeyagorn, Bagorn, Academic Lecture Document for Planning and Development, Bangkok, National Institute of Development Administration, 1987, Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, Volume 3, Bangkok, 2007 [5] Bunlert, Pattanapong, King Rama I Golf Course, Kyusei Nature Farming 16 (92), pp.34-6, July-August 2007 [6] Carpo, Richley H, Cultural Anthropology, Dushkin: The Dushkin Publishing Group, 1993. [7] Chotiyasiti, Chayapa, An economic cost-Benefit Analysis and Factors Determining Whether Farmers Produce Safe Products, in Wangnamkhiaow District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Master of Arts Thesis in Agricultural Business, Kasetsart University, 2005 480
European Journal of Social Sciences ­ Volume 21, Number 3 (2011) [8] Commemorative Book of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Day, 21st edition, Bangkok, Srinakkarintarwirot University Publishers, 2008 [9] Da-oon, Mongkun, Why We Must Adopt Natural Agricultural Methods, Natural Agriculture, (12), pp.43-8, 2006 [10] Da-oon, Mongkun, Fourth Kyusei Nature Farming Fair, Heaven on Earth, 7(81), pp. 75-6, December, 1993 [11] Da-oon, Mongkun, Fifteenth Kyusei Nature Farming Fair, Heaven on Earth, 20(222), p.94, November, 2006 [12] Dawgthaisong, Bunthan, Procedures and Methods for Developing Hearts and Minds towards the Development of Thai Society, Bangkok, Rachada, 1986 [13] Dipsee, Porntip, Behaviour of Consumers Selecting Safe Products in the City District of Chiang Mai, Maejo University, 2004 [14] Division of Research Facilitation and Dissemination, Mahasarakham University, Meeting for Brainstorming the Knowledge and Suggestions for Planning and Policies for Research Development in Mahasarakham University, 2009, pp.29-46 [15] Effective Microorganisms: Dangerous or Not? Heaven on Earth 6 (67), pp.73-4, February, 1995 [16] Glayglang, Tanarat, Improving Soil by Using Organic Fertilizer, Natural Farming, Volume 11, 2002 [17] Government Intentions for the Nature Farming Nation, Soil and Fertilizer Magazine, 27 (Special), pp.8-9, 2005 [18] Higa, Teruo, 2001, The Technology of Effective Microorganisms ­ Concept and Philosophy University of The Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan [19] Hongdrakoon, Chawalit, How to Ferment Fertilizers, Promotional Document, Volume 6, Nakhon Prathom, Soonsongserm Publishers and National Agricultural Centre, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, 1989 [20] Institute of Agriculture and Environment Extension, Manual for Using Adapted EM, Eighth Edition, Bangkok, Gor Pon Publishers (1996), 2008 [21] Internet Committee for National Research, Food, Fuel and Fertilizer from Organic Waste Materials, Bangkok, Curusapaladpraw Publishers, 1989 [22] Itsaranuwat, Preeyaporn and Wetthayasuporn, Sopit, EM for Natural Agriculture, Agriculture Centre, 33(3), p. 176, July-September 2005 [23] Jammarig, Sanae, Thai Society and Problematic Developments, Bangkok, Cobfi Publishers, 1988 [24] Jiddasangka, Maka, Rural Development, Bangkok, Faculty of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Sukhothai Tammatirat University, 2004 [25] Kyusei Nature Farming, 16(90), March-April 2007 [26] Kyusei Nature Farming, 16(91), May-June 2007 [27] Kyusei Nature Farming, 16(94), November-December 2007 [28] Liwthong, Pitayagorn and Piriyapon Siangjaew, Microorganisms That Can Decompose and Benefit Organic Fertilizers, Bangkok, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, 1997 [29] Lorgailert, Biyabut, Agricultural Choice, Bangkok, Tongpoongarnpim Ltd., 2004 [30] Lupton, D., Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and The Body in Western Societies, London: Sage Publication, 1994. [31] Mala, Tongchai, Producing and Using Organic Fertilizers, Document for Training the Techniques of Producing Organic Fertilizers and Producing Mixed Soil in Farming Courses, Nakhon Prathom, Centre for Support and Training, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, 2001 [32] Office of the public sector Development Commission, Secretariat of the Senate, Thailand, Using Fertilizer in Organic Agriculture, Bangkok, The Secretariat of the Senate, 2005 [33] Ososapa, Yongyut, Glossary of Fertilizers, Bangkok, Kasetsart University, 1999 481
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