BANGKOK, Oct 20 – Thailand today celebrated its National World Food Day with performances, demonstrations and exhibits honouring the important contribution to food security by smallholders and family farmers in this major Asian agriculture producing nation. In recognition of this year’s World Food Day theme, “Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth,” Thailand’s Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, noted that “even though Thailand has a capacity to produce a lot of food products, it was not sufficient to feed the world population.”
While feeding the world is the main aim, a greater emphasis is needed to care for the earth, he added. “Farmers should reduce or stop using chemical fertilizer and pesticide,” Petipong said. “They should produce organic vegetables and products. This will help reduce the cost of production in their farms, nourish the soil, enable people to lead a healthy lifestyle and ensure a healthy society.”
“More than 80 percent of farmers are smallholder family farmers in the Asia-Pacific region and they produce a majority of foods we eat every day,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative during his opening remarks. Without supporting the family and smallholder farmers, we would not be able to achieve food security, equitable growth and sustainable development, Konuma added.
Konuma also delivered a statement by FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva. Da Silva said family farming and the support it receives need to adjust in ways that can respond to these changing conditions. “Innovation is the key to make this happen. Additionally, in all its forms, innovation needs to be inclusive, involving family farmers, sharing and using their knowledge so that they have ownership of the process, taking on board both the benefits and the risks and making sure that it truly responds to local contexts.”
FAO is working with Thailand in a number of technical areas, including the implementation of a national Save Food Campaign designed to raise awareness about post-harvest food loss and food waste.