Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Farmers from 13 countries met, representing Asia, Australia, North America and Europe.

Chiang Mai University, Thailand, venue for the International Farmers' Dialogue, November 2004'Farming for the Future - Changing Direction to Secure Farmers Livelihoods World-Wide' was the theme of this event, held under the auspices of the International Farmers' Dialogue. A report is available The following are some of the encouraging developments.

1) The growth of friendship between farmers in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and India.

2) The unity and common purpose between farmers what ever their country as they focused on the needs of the worlds consumers.

3) Duncan Nduhui (Kenya), Jamil Ssebalu (Uganda), Martin Simtenda (Tanzania)Thailand with its many small farmers has felt the negative effects of the over and unwise use of Chemical fertilisers and insecticides. This is leading to a passion for organic farming resulting in research that is leading to more effective ways of farming leading to production of home produced organic pesticides and fertilisers.

4) The commitment of the staff at the agricultural faculty of the university to discover and make their work relevant to the needs of the farming community. We saw a number of examples of how this was a direct help to farmers.

5) The actions that are being considered during the coming year by participants a the conference, two of these being events in Uganda and India. In summing up our host, Dr Puntipa Pongpiachan Paddy fields in Thailandcommented on the experiences of those involved in Initiatives of Change and said 'I am very impressed by the speeches given by farmers who have shared their experiences. I can confidently say that this dialogue has enlightened our thinking, leading to new solutions. The voice of a young Cambodian lady who asked for more Thai-Cambodian dialogue to improve the understanding between our two nations is a very good example of what has been started. I hope government officers together with politicians from both sides will use this opportunity too find solutions. This idea can lead to a solution to the conflict in Southern Thailand.'
Jim Wigan