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27 September 2018 Lumdee Te Khuadang, Chiang Mai: The launch of the forest restoration funding model, “FLR349”, based on the agroforestry strategy “Three Forests, Four Benefits” under His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” will serve as a model for the restoration and protection of degraded headwater ecosystems and the eradication of social inequality. To take away the externalities and risks related to deforestation, the funding model provides an incentivized social financial mechanism and the promotion of sustainable markets for smallholder farmers to shift from monoculture production of maize, to sustainable farming practices. The landscape reforestation initiative is piloted in Song Tharn Village 1 (Mae Khee Mook), Baan Thub District, Mae Chaem Province, Chiang Mai, with 25 families participating, covering 135 rai of land. If land is dedicated to the ecological restoration of headwater streams, the funding model aims to pay 2,000 baht per rai on an annual basis to individual families for up to 5 years.
Established as a collaborative, localizing model for the advancement of area-based sustainable consumption and production (SCP), the need for forest restoration and rehabilitation in Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai, is critical, where monoculture farming has been identified as one of the major drivers of deforestation and ecosystem degradation in the area. The model was developed by WWF-Thailand, Chiang Mai Social Enterprise (CSE), Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), Thai Organic Agriculture Foundation (TOF), Agricultural and Food Marketing Association for Asia and the Pacific (AFMA), with technical support from the Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation (TDRI), the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) under the Government of Thailand, and The Center for People and Forests (RECOFCT).
“The FLR349 funding model is like a mentor, which serves to advise farmers on ways to successfully shift from chemical-intensive farming practices to sustainable farming practices under the “Three Forests, Four Benefits” principle that highlights the key roles of forests as producers of diverse, sustainable foods, and carbon sinks that mitigate climate change. It promotes a diversity of income sources and production modes as a sustainable strategy to secure economic needs, community livelihoods and most importantly, freedom from a fractured food supply chain,” says Mr. Pairuch Toewiwat, Director of Chiang Mai Social Enterprise.
“Maize farming has become a major driver of deforestation and deterioration of the eco-system. At the same time, a majority of the smallholder maize farmers are trapped in a vicious cycle of debt that contributes to their poor livelihood. With the local economy and food system collapsing, they aren’t even able to live independently. This shows that our supply chain is far from sustainable. This has led to the establishment of the FLR349 funding model as a practical solution. It is expected that farmers will earn four times more from sustainable farming than unsustainable farming practices, and most importantly, restore and protect headwater streams. The model can ensure long-term sustainability of forest watersheds, social relationships, and food systems and is a collaborative effort by all sectors to align the program to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” says Mr. Ply Pirom, Project Manager of the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) project, WWF-Thailand.
“The plantation of perennial trees and a diverse variety of food crops through sustainable farming practices can contribute greatly to a food system that is self-sufficient and profitable to farmers. In the case of Mae Chaem, the produce will be sold to a social enterprise that will determine a fair, fixed price and decide which local food markets will receive the food. This also includes schools, hotels, hospitals, local restaurants and retail markets. Through the FLR349 funding model, we are expecting to see the emergence of a self-sufficient economy, commitment towards sustainable production and consumption, and the potential advancement of eco-tourism in the area,” concludes Mr. Pairuch Toewiwat.
The press conference and launch of the FLR349 model will take place at the forum, “Social Collaboration Towards the Revival of Forests”, with key representatives invited from civil society organizations and participating smallholder farmers. The forum will include a knowledge exchange and dialogue session, a photo exhibition, and the showcasing of local produce from the project area.
Ms. Duangkamol Wong
Conservation Marketing and Communications Manager
T: 02-618-4303-05 #107
Ms. Tammarin Dejsupa
Project Campaigner, Sustainable Consumption and Production
T: 02-618-4303-05 #602