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The King’s Philosophy, Reforestation, Sustainable Livelihoods and Safe Foods.
WHAT IS THE FLR349?
FLR349 Fund is a fund that has been developed based on the King’s Philosophy of “Three Forests, Four Benefits” and the development of a value chain which could become a model for farmers living in watershed areas. The FLR349 Fund helps farmers turn their agricultural operation from forest-encroaching mono-agriculture with intensive use of chemicals into the “Three Forests, Four Benefits” agricultural system which helps to restore the environment by stopping the destruction of top soil. Farmers learn to grow perennial trees, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs in a mixed system that is sustainable, and which replenishes the soil. Such plantations function like carbon sinks and water reservoirs which make possible the production of diverse and safe foods for consumption. It helps to empower farmers and their community, helps to reduce their living expenses, and helps to keep them healthy. As a result, they can break free from the endless cycle of debt that has trapped many farmers in our current food system. This system is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The efforts of the FLR349 funding programme has already helped achieved some big successes for farmers in project sites, Mae Chaem and Nan in Northern Thailand. Read more about the progress below:
Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai
Project hosts first farmers' trainingThe Thailand Organic Agriculture Innovation Foundation, Chiangmai Social Enterprise (CSE), and WWF-Thailand hosted their first farmers’ union training at Baan Ki Mook, Baan Tub sub district, Mae Chaem district in Chiangmai in accordance to Article 19 of the Royal Forest Act, Royal Forest Department to manage and promote sustainable consumption and production towards chemical-free agriculture practices and reduction of forest upstream invasion.
Partnership to boost sustainable farming practicesA milestone Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on February 8th, 2018, committing five Thai organizations to strengthen collaboration on environmental conservation and security pillars through the advancement of an area-based sustainable consumption and production (SCP) to better contribute to food security, and protection of headwater streams in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The following organizations entered the five-year Plan of Action: WWF-Thailand, Chiang Mai Social Enterprise (CSE), Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), Thai Organic Agriculture Foundation and Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna. Find out more
Launch of forest restoration funding model, FLR349The “FLR349” was launched to serve as a model for the restoration and protection of degraded headwater ecosystems and the eradication of social inequality in Mae Chaem. Established as a collaborative, localizing model for the advancement of area-based sustainable consumption and production (SCP), 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) and Agricultural and Food Marketing Association for Asia and the Pacific (AFMA). The landscape reforestation initiative was 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. The funding model aims to pay 2,000 baht per rai on an annual basis to individual families for up to 5 years. Find out more
FLR349 promotes local produceThe FLR349 expands its sustainable food system agenda through a promotion of local, chemical-free agricultural produce from Mae Jam cooperative (Baan Longpong), which are then distributed throughout the province’s local schools, hospitals, markets and restaurants. Additionally, as part of the funding model’s forest restoration plan, mixed perennial plants are being planted to restore degraded forest lands through sustainable forms of agricultural practices.
FLR349 expands forest restoration areaFLR349 further expands forest plantation area into Baan Tub sub district of Mae Chaem, with the Royal Forest Department and Baan Tub municipality also establishing a plan to reconstruct degraded forest areas near two key watershed areas in accordance to the Land Administration committee's policy of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment. The reconstruction plan aims to gather 1,600 families across 16,000 rai of land into the funding scheme. It is expected that up to 45,000 rai of degraded forest lands will be restored.
Second MoU SignedA second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between and Ban Thap sub- district administrative organisations and local smallholders to commit to the FLR349 fund reforestation model, with WWF Thailand acting as a witness. The MoU will support the funding of the project with, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) being key backers. Also attended by the project’s other key members like the Central Group, the Royal Forestry Department, and faculty from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna (RMUTL), the event was another key milestone for the project. After the signing, attendees took part in planting different trees, including perennials, cacao, and banana. Find out more
Project promotes sustainable production of local goodsThe SCP project partners with the Nan Organic Agricultural Network (NON) and Central Group to promote the production and distribution of sustainable agricultural products, such as pumpkins, oranges, rambutan, and other local vegetables in the province.
MoU signed to streghten environmental conservation effortsUnder the FLR349 initiative, the SCP project signs a four-way MoU between Nan Organic Agricultural Network (NON), Central Group and Tops Supermarket, to further strengthen collaboration on environmental conservation and protection of headwater streams through the promotion of SCP in Nan, Thailand. The three-year Plan of Action will establish a framework towards a transformational agriculture shift from monoculture practices on deforested areas to an integrated farming system with specific focus on food security enhancement, global climate change, food production and processing, including establishment of cooperative sustainable market chains of ‘local foods’ to support farmers’ sales and other livelihood opportunities. It is expected that the initiative would also help consolidate and support local and regional food business enterprises through participatory guarantee systems (PGS) and a traceability monitoring system. Find out more
FLR349 expands pilot areaThe FLR349 endorses sustainable agriculture practices and the addition of cocoa plantation alongside WWF-Thailand's collaboration between the Nan Organic Agricultural Network (NON) and Central Group in Bua Yai district, Na Noi province, Nan. The program aims to decrease deforestation activities, increase forest lands, and further develop the community's capacity to facilitate the production of quality sustainable goods for marketing and distribution. Find out more
Training workshop on product marketingWWF-Thailand, Nan Organic Agricultural Network (NON), and Central Group organizes a capacity building workshop for smallholder representatives of the community from November 26-27 on strategic means of product packaging, marketing and distribution. In addition, Central Group provides funds for the sustainable agricultural production of local vegetables in the Baan Sao community area, as well as the establishment of a 'Sustainable Agricultural Learning Center' in Bang Rakam sub-district.
Implementation of the Participatory Guaranteed SystemThe Nan Organic Agricultural Network (NON) holds a meeting consisting of board members of the community’s Participatory Guaranteed System (PGS) operation team. A quality assurance system that allows farmers to conduct certification process of their sustainably-produced goods, the system is implemented across 660 rai (approximately 260 acres) of agriculture land.
FLR349 expands reforestation initiativeThe FLR349’s reforestation initiative commences with the plantation of cocoa plants alongside 35 farmers over an area of 100 rai (approximately 40 acres) in Baan Nongha community in Bua Yai, Na Noi district. The area was formerly used for monoculture farming before its transformation into polyculture farming that promotes the plantation of perennial trees and diverse food crops towards a self-sufficient and profitable food system.
Community inspects landFarmers and key representatives from the Bua Yai agricultural community network inspect potential plantation areas, water sources for plant growth and wild trees. It has also been reported that the addition of the PGS system had allowed for a surge in employment and economy growth within the community.
Celebration of project successJoined by 200 volunteers and local representatives, WWF Thailand and partners the Central Group and NON took part in a tree planting activity to celebrate the success of the Nan forest restoration project. After detailing the results for the first year of the pilot project, attendees planted a mixed group of perineal trees, which included mixed forest trees, fruit trees, and economic crops. Find out more
The Way Forward
The FLR349 Fund will be a flagship model to restore watershed areas and reduce social inequality and food insecurity by applying the King’s Philosophy. It will be based on participation of all sectors and aims to yield collective benefits in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped that the FLR349 Fund model can be replicated in all areas throughout the country and the world. It is expected that within the first ten years, we will be able to develop food production forests covering an area of 50,000 rai and turn a denuded watershed area into a lush and green ecological system to ensure food security on a sustainable basis for our children.