KLONG YONG is a lowland area on the outskirt of Bangkok where is located in Nakorn Pathom Province, Thailand. The community aims to produce organic rice and preserving the local paddy seed in Nakorn Chaisri field. They also applied many technics in rice field management to increase the production. Ban Chanote, Klong Yong-Lantakfa Community Enterprise was established here with the mission to produce organic rice with directly connects with the consumers and lift up the income of rice farming more than chemical- used or low quality rice. At present, this area has been converted to be owned by the farmers with land title deeds so the villagers do not have to pay rent anymore.
Experience the beauty of the rice fields, while observing, meeting and talking with real experienced farmers who will help you to understand the farmer‘s way of life which involves more than just growing rice.
From subsistence farmer to entrepreneur
Several years ago, the Klong Yong community decided it was time to change their chemical farming practices which was affecting their communities‘ health and the soil. The transition was not easy. They had to keep the entire process of organic rice production among their own community without involving middlemen and agents. Although the ploughing and harvesting methods were the same, rice milling posed a problem. The farmers could not use the ordinary rice mills as the mill owners would not undertake milling of organic rice; the mills required cleaning before and after milling.
The farmers decided to become their own ―rice field manager‖. Every part of the rice production was sub-contracted to each other. This allowed the farmers in Klong Yong to do more than one task. They could manage their rice fields while also being subcontracted for providing organic fertilizer to a neighbor‘s rice field. The farmers also sought for non- farming opportunities like agro-tourism and food processing to generate cash income. Finally, the community has ended up in a situation where their main income comes mostly from non-agricultural activity such as rice packaging, marketing and selling.
In 2011, and coinciding with the period after huge floods washed over Thailand, Prapart Pintobtang who is a Klong Yong resident and currently associate professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, introduced organic rice practices to the members of the Klong Yong cooperative. He promoted the concept of self-reliance which was gradually taken up by the rice farmers in Klong Yong who wanted to try and change from chemical rice production to organic farming.
Prapart Pintobtang started small experimental fields to cultivate various kinds of local rice varieties suited to the soil and climate of the Klong Yong area. He also helped farmers to conserve many local rice varieties such as Luang-Hom, Hom-Nakhon Chaisri and Luang- Suan. The Klong Yong community has plans to set up a local paddy seed bank to protect local seed varieties.
Once the farmers managed to become good at organic rice farming, they decided to establish a community enterprise shop in 2016. The community enterprise shop is now an organic supermarket that provides organic rice, vegetables and other products for Bangkok residents.