07 Feb Sukhothai’s Organic Agriculture Project
After the completion of the Bangkok Airways’ owned Sukhothai Airport in 1996, the surrounding arable land remained unused until a decision was made to turn it into an agricultural project that would equally benefit the producers, consumers and environment.
In 1999 an experiment to grow rice without any chemicals was carried out on a small scale at one end of the airport. The positive results led to a gradual expansion that with time gave the growers confidence to start developing a sustainable agriculture project. Eventually launching the Organic Agriculture Project at Sukhothai Airport, with the dual purpose of greening the area and developing strains of rice that were highly nutritious as well as suited to the region. The owner also wanted to help local farmers and hoped that by making the produce organic, he could inspire more farmers to go chemical free for health and sustainable reasons.
From growing rice on a small patch of land, today the project organically grows produce in their paddy field, vegetable beds and mango, papaya, banana, mango fruit orchards. These were initially supplied to the airline catering service and airport, but as production volumes increased they extended to outlets in Sukhothai, Bangkok and beyond.
The Organic Agriculture Project Story
If you speak to any of the farmers who’s passion drives the project, they will tell you that they grow every single rice plant in partnership with the elements and nature. They believe in the sufficiency concept, allowing the project to progress gradually and would never convert to industrial agriculture simply to increase sale volume as this would have a negative affect on the quality of their organic produce.
Although this is not the easy route, and without any chemicals the land is vulnerable to invasion by pests, they find ways to co-exist and keep the bugs at bay. These include using ducks as pest control to eat the insects; the ducks then lay eggs that are used on the farm.
They run their our own small rice mill, which means that their rice does not have to be processed in the mainstream chemical agriculture system. After removing the husk and polishing every grain, the organic rice undergoes visual and handson quality grading by the team before packaging. Vegetables and fruits are hand washed, cut and individually selected before being prepped for sales.
Each step of the production line, that is selecting good planting seeds, taking good care during the growing process, naturally fertilising and harvesting the products is meticulously undertaken. Here you can be assured of true organic produce that is kind to the environment.
Another unique thing about the property is their approximately 300 albino buffalo that are said to bring good fortune. While there visit the Khao Hom Sukho Shop where you can refresh yourself with a cool rice grass beverage, mango drink or taste food made from organic products and try your hand at planting and picking rice.
What is Organic Agriculture?
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has been promoting organic agriculture for more than 30 years and has created a network across 100 countries. They define organic farming as “a production system that sustains the health of soil, ecosystem and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of harmful products. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”
Learn about Organic Farming
Sukhothai’s Organic Agriculture Project invites visitors to learn about traditional Thai farming activities at their outdoor classrooms. The Beginner’s Course is 1-3 hours and good for those with less time who’d like an overview of organic agriculture. The Amateurs Course is a full day and recommended for learning about growing organic vegetables, while the Outdoor Classroom for Professionals is a three day course that will equip you to be an organic farmer. Accommodation is available if requried.
The project is located on the same road as Sukhothai’s private airport, 27km from New Sukhothai off Route 1195 and you can get there with Sukhothai Airport’s minivan service.
Organic Agriculture Project at Sulhothai Airport
Tel. (66) 055-647-290 Fax. (66) 055-647-145
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a restaurant serving the farm’s organic produce and a souvenir shop you can support.
Telephone: (011) 289-8085
Street address: holiday house, 156 bram fischer drv, randburg 2194
Office hours: mon – fri 08h30-17h00