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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).
Click here for a more in-depth detailed breakdown of the FLR349 initiative implementation.
The efforts of the FLR349 funding programme has already helped achieve some big successes for farmers in project sites, Mae Chaem and Nan in Northern Thailand. Read more about the progress below:
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
MoU signed at Jing Jai market.WWF-Thailand, the Central Group, and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) entering into an agreement initiating the FLR349 Fund to eliminate the farmers’ debt crisis and mitigate environmental issues caused by the encroachment of headwater areas. This agreement is the way forward towards cooperation that will revitalize and strengthen the local economy, while also building a healthy sustainable local food system, developing a supply chain, and creating a market place. Find out more
FLR349 expand operationsThe FLR349 Fund joined forces with Mae Chaem Cooperative and Kong Khaek Sub-District Administrative Organization to expand 32 additional hectares (200 rais) of 'Three Forests, Four Benefits' and prepare for seedlings cultivation. Additionally, with support from FLR349 key partners, The Central Group, two greenhouses were build, and plans to improve the local food supply chain were developed. With the controlled climate the greenhouses in the Mae Chaem project sites can offer, they will be used to grow high value crops. This will not only develop new skills, but will also increase the income for the farmers participating in the project, helping them become more self-reliant in their journey away from monoculture agriculture.
FLR349 supports marginalised communities during COVID-19 pandemic fallout.WWF-Thailand and FLR349, along with partners like The Central Group collaborated with the Doi Inthanon Conservation Trust Fund Foundation to establish the “Food Sharing for Love” project to support farmers and marginalised communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project sought food donations and raised funds to source various fresh produce directly from the FLR349 project's farmers and its local organic farmers network that are struggling due to the market closures and supply chain collapse. The food were then systematically and comprehensively distributed to marginalised communities across Chiang Mai. Find out more
FLR349 continues project expansionThe FLR349 Fund along with Mae Chaem Cooperative and Kong Khaek Sub-District Administrative Organization continued with seedlings cultivation and greenhouse construction, preparing to plant in the area and build market places along the supply chain.
Agoda joins forces with WWF to plant 6000 trees in Chiang MaiAgoda kicked of their partnership with WWF-Thailand to support the FLR349 project, which will plant 6000 trees in the first year, with a reforestation event at Forest Industry Organization No. 13 in Mae Chaem district, Chiang Mai province. Attended by Agoda CEO John Brown, Agoda employees and hotel partners, as well as WWF-Thailand employees, the event sees Agoda becoming the first travel sector company to partner with FLR349. This new two way partnership will go towards helping FLR349 reach our reforestation and lead to sustainable food and livelihoods, which in turn will also benefit Agoda through improved local tourism. This partnership is a great representation of our aim to create long term partnerships with organizations who share our goals of restoring local food, livelihoods and forests, demonstrating how FLR349 is a great platform for creating shared values with business partners
Expansion of Food Sharing for Love ProjectIn collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature Thailand (WWF Thailand), the Central Group, and the Doi Inthanon Conservation Trust Fund Foundation, the Food for Sharing Project was started earlier in 2020 was expanded. Working with local communities in Chiang Mai Province, the project focuses encouraged sustainable solutions and urban farming around households in order to reduce costs and improve food self-sufficiency. FLR349 collected and distributed vegetables, rice, organic fruits, and herbs to bedridden patients and the elderly in the urban communities to mitigate economic hardship and reduce problems associated with chemical contamination of foods. The project also sold the organic produce to those in the community who can afford them at a low cost. This will create incentives for the smallholder farmers to stop monoculture agriculture (maize), stop burning of stubble, and stop agrochemicals usage, turning to organic agriculture instead. Those in urban areas are able to purchase and share produce with the sick and those in need as a result.
FLR349 opens first shop in Chiang MaiRattapat Srichanklad, the FLR349 Fund Secretary, has opened the first FLR349 shop in Chiang Mai Province Thailand. Based at the FLR349 headquarters, the shop sells produce from farmers in the FLR349 network from Lhong Pong and Galyani Vadhana Districts. Ratatapat buys produce form the network upfront weekly, and the profits are cycled back into the project’s reforestation work. To reduce food waste, any produce that isn’t sold or are not up to standards are donated to the community The shop also features an online system where customers can order produce through the Line messenger app. Find out more
Organic Agriculture Management TrainingSmallholders farmers from the Kalayaniwattana Organic Agriculture Cooperative were provided with training on organic agriculture management, creation of safe local food, iFOAM organic agriculture standards, and product management. These training sessions will lead to the farmers replacing monoculture agriculture in the area with organic agriculture, reduce deforstation, and improve food security in the area.
Sold produce from projectFLR349 helped farmers part of the project and from farmers' networks in Chiang Mai sell their organic produce to market places in Chiang Mai and the Central Groups' Chef Yim project through the FLR349 SE
FLR349 launches FLR349 Farm LabUsing the greenhouse funded by the Central Group of Companies in 2020, FLR349 launched the FLR349 Farm Lab in Baan Long Pong, Khong Khaek Sub-district, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province. The purpose of the FLR349 Farm Lab is to expand the use of smart farming in the project. The technologies provided by the greenhouses, including climate adaptation, will not only help increase agriculture yield year round, but will also allow the small farmers to grow high value crops which would otherwise be difficult to grow in the area. Moreover, the greenhouses will also function as a learning centre where training sessions will be held to develop organic agriculture skills for the small farmers part of the project – as well as interested members of the general public - at an international standard.
Area management fundsFLR349 provided 39 smallholder farmer households with funds for the 1st year of area management. A meeting was also held to discuss project operations with the smallholder farmers to further expand the project areas in the future with support from WWF Singapore.
Local food distributed to communityIn order to develop produce management network based on a Local Food model, FLR349 worked with the Kong Khaek Sub-district cooperative to sell sold organic produce to the local community and promote the raising of organic chicken.
nullDuring the period in agriculture plots in Kong Khaek and Ban Om Meng Sub-districts, were managed so they are ready to be converted into Three Forests, Four Benefits. Sustainable production in the areas was also expanded through introducing organic laying hens and broilers to the agricultural plots. The outputs will be distributed to the area, promoting the concept of local food.
nullOrganised a workshop to better prepare the smallholder farmers for project activities and plan for upcoming rainy season.
nullProject team members attended a conference to learn more about water and soil conservation policies for national parks and class 1 2 watersheds forests organised by the Royal Forest Department.
High ranking government official visit project sitesOn the 7th of September 2022, Dr. Raweewan Bhuridej Director of the Office of the National Land Policy Board, under the Office of the Prime Minister, visited FLR349 project sites in Mae Chaem Province. This visit marked a show of support for the project from another major governmental body. Moreover, the official also proposed introducing the FLR349 model into existing government land that has been allocated for use through governmental policies. In total, there are 2.9 million rai (464,000 hectares) of land, which provides huge opportunities for project to grow and be expanded. If expanded the model’s benefits can be transferred to other areas helping to restore degraded watersheds, build sustainable careers, and create local food systems in all areas around the country
WWF Thailand and partners visit project sites to increase understanding prior to MoU signingIn late September 2022, WWF Thailand along with partners visited project sites in Ban Om Meng and Ban Khong Kha villages, Mae Chaem District to learn more about the area prior to signing a MoU. The 5 organisations in attendance were, WWF Thailand, the Royal Forest Department, Thaicom PLC., Central Group, and the Thai Organic Agriculture Innovation Foundation. The aim of the MoU is increase green areas by expanding the FLR349 model to 8000 hectares (50,000 rai) country wide by 2030.
FLR349 and partners meet with Director General of the Royal Forest DepartmentFLR349, Central Group, WWF Thailand, and Thaicom PLC. attended a meeting with Mr. Surachai Achalaboon, the Director General of the Royal Forest Department (RFD). The meeting was held at the at the RFD headquarters in Bangkok for discussions concerning a MoU FLR349 will sign with RFD later this year. The aim of the agreement is to scale up project activities country wide. This includes activities to restore watershed forests and promote alternative sustainable career choices with a transition away from maize agriculture in class 1,2 watersheds towards the FLR349 solution model. These activities will help reduce environmental problems, reduce agrochemical usage, and increase carbon sequestration.
FLR349 hosts learning exchange workshopFLR349 hosted a learning exchange workshop in Mae Chaem District to allow smallholder farmers. The purpose of the workshop was to allow attendees to gain new knowledge, which they could apply to heir specific community context, while also building a stronger network of sustainable agricultural producers. Read more
Composting workshopsIn July, the project organised composting workshops in 4 villages across Mae Chaem District led by an expert, Mrs.Kanokporn Diskajun. The workshop taught the smallholder farmers about how to compost soil, techniques on the collection of natural microorganisms, and how to make microbial fermented water. The teachings in the workshops were further cemented in mini workshops organised in August where the smallholder farmers were broken into smaller groups and had further opportunities to test out the knowledge they gained in the main workshop in real life.
Development of Community Tree NurseryTo remove the need for purchasing saplings from external sources, the project has planned for developed a community tree nursery in Mae Rim District. With this, the community will produce their own saplings which will be fed into the project. The tree nursery will generate income for the smallholder farmers, while developing the skills and knowledge needed for saplings production. Additionally, with through tree nursery the community will be able to participates in the conservation and sustainable use of forest resources
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
FLR349 receives SDGsPGS certificationNan Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise along with WWF Thailand and network representatives organized a board meeting to certify 209 plots totaling 141.52 hectares (884.51 rais) with the SDGsPGS certification
FLR349 Fund and partners create value added productsFarmers from Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community enterprise, BAAC, and the FLR349 Fund tracked seedlings growth in the cacao and ‘three forests, four benefits’ plots. They also planned what value added products will be created from the agricultural products grown, in order to sell produce from the FLR349 plots like cashews, pumpkins, backyard vegetables to the factory supported by the Central Group while also creating jobs.
FLR349 Fund and partners create market place to improve local food supply chainFarmers from the Nan Organic Agriculture Cooperative, SDGsPGS, Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise, along with the FLR349 Fund joined force to manage produce and market places in order to improve the local food supply chain and prepare for survival rate tracking and replacement planting in the cacao and 'Three Forests, Four Benefits' plots
FLR349 Fund and partners delivered produce to market.Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise’s farmers that are working with the FLR349 Fund delivered produce to the market by developing produce like cashews, pumpkins, and backyard vegetables and selling them to malls and supermarkets. They also prepared the areas replacement planting.
FLR349 certify more area with the SDGSsxPGS standardOctober 2020 saw a further 117 plots part of the project totaling more than 97 hectares being certified organic with the SDGsxPGS organic certification standard. Of this 3 plots are fully certified organic, while 114 are in the transformation period converting ot organic agriculture, which will take 3 years
WWF Thailand, the Mall Group, and Tik Tok team up to join SET’s Care the Wild campaign.On December 4th 2020 to commemorate Thai Environmental day, WWF Thailand teamed up with the Mall Group and Tik Tok to join the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s (SET) ‘Care the Wild: Plant and Project’ campaign in order to encourage Thai people to reduce deforestation, fight climate change, and increase forest coverage in Nan province in the north of Thailand. Find out more
WWF Thailand and Ricult hosts first Farmer App Training workshopTo prepare for the upcoming launch of the new and improved FLR349 traceability platform, WWF Thailand and Ricult hosted the first training workshop for the Farner app sectioin of the traceability platform in Nan. The Farmer app section is where the farmers input their agriculture data, making it the most important and underlying part of the traceability platform. This is why WWF Thailand and Ricult are hosting on-site training workshops with the farmers to help them learn to integrate the technologies into their operations and ensure they are familiar with the app. Find out more
Value added products developed in Nan ProvinceAlong with local partner Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna (RMUTL), smallholders from the project site in Nan Province developed value added products from the organic produce grown. the Products developed include pumpkin-based desserts and pumpkin seed oil, the later of which is a high value product significantly increasing income the the smallholders.
Monitoring and Evaluation and SDGsxPGS CertificationBetween June to August 2021, NOAN and SDGSxPGS certifiers went to the agricultural plots of smallholders in the network in order to certify more areas and to conduct monitoring and evaluation. 110 households with 132 plots totaling 171.52 hectares recieved certification.
nullThe Nan Organic Agriculture Network and the Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise organised 2 workshops for 80 smallholder farmer households participating in the project in order to help develop and restore areas for sustainable production, ecological conservation, and organic agriculture. Moreover, more agricultural plots were also certified organic through the Participatory Guarantee System (SDGsPGS), and a farmers’ market for these products was planned.
nullFLR349 collaborated with the Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise and the Nan Organic Agriculture Network to conduct monitoring and evaluation of the cacao saplings and the Three Forests, Four Benefits plots supported that were supported by the Central Group. During the process, a production management plan was developed, including plans for value-added products, including pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin desserts, and cashew nuts.
nullThe Nan Organic Agriculture Network organised an activity at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna - Nan to help 63 smallholder farmers certify 74 plots on 440 rai (704 hectares) with the Participatory Guarantee System (SDGsPGS)
nullDuring this period FLR349 collaborated with the Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise to conduct monitoring and evaluation on the cacao and Three Forests, Four Benefits plantations while also developing management plans for product distribution and processing.
nullLR349 collaborated with the Bua Yai Organic Agriculture Community Enterprise and Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna - Nan to organise a smallholder farmer workshop on cacao production and processing to add value to products gown in the area.
SDGsxPGS training workshopAt the present, in the sustainable agriculture areas in Nan provice, there is a lack of resource that are needed to certify lands with PGS certification. This is because the smallholder farmers lack the required knowledge needed to inspect and certify the lands properly. WWF Thailand along with experts from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna Nan Campus therefore organised a SDGsxPGS training workshop for smallholder farmers to develop these skills.
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.