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Successful organic farming in Phimai

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Offline Anton

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Going their own way, growing organically

Ban Toei villagers preach self-sufficiency and forgo special aid from the state, writes Chatrudee Theparat

While others ask for financial support and special treatment from the government, Ban Toei village of tambon Krabueang Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima's Phimai district does the opposite.

The community has declined to receive any state aid or financial support over the past few years, saying it has enough funding via the government's myriad existing schemes such as the Village Fund and the Pracha Rat Fund for low-income earners.

Ban Toei villagers feel they earn enough to make a living and no longer need development projects or debt relief.

Ban Toei is one of the villages that applied the sufficiency economy philosophy of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej to development the community and tackle debts incurred mainly from buying raw farming materials and chemical fertiliser.

According to village chief Sombat Choteklang, 52, local people started applying self-sufficiency principles in 2011. They came together to grow chemical-free rice for the main and off-season crop, using compost or organic fertiliser while lessening their reliance on costly chemical fertiliser.

That same year, the community set up a sufficiency economy learning centre to which villagers have donated their time and labour.

Many villagers have also arranged their own households to better manage income and spending and ensure proper waste management.

Local people now have a glimpse of a better life, with combined debt down to 1 million baht.

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