The Sanpatong Sustainable Agriculture Training Centre
For several decades regional governments have promoted a farming model that induced small farmers away from the traditional sustainable agriculture towards a chemically driven mono-cropping model in which the authorities essentially control the supply chain of seed and chemicals in, and product out. This has led to the land becoming less fertile, drained of essential nutrients, and the farmer being increasingly dependent on suppliers for seed, inorganic chemicals and fertilizers.
As a result the value of the land has decreased. With the farmer struggling to make a profit due to rising costs, he is easy prey for those who would buy his land at low prices. He can easily be pressured into selling his land at a low price to investors who will use it for large scale commercial farming - with the now landless farmer as an employee.
Track of the Tiger T.R.D. sees this as a ticking social time bomb which amongst other things will have a negative effect on the future of tourism. The company has pioneered an elegant a solution that uses volunteer driven responsible tourism as a development tool providing (a) Education to those who seek a future in small scale socially responsible sustainable agriculture. (b) Training and opportunities, in responsible tourism in the form of home stay and local lifestyle tour operations.
The project aims to use the sustainable agriculture education centre funded by the European tour operator KUONI as the key component in its mission to reintroduce and reeducate the local farmers (and especially young students) to a modern form of sustainable farming based on a version of His Majesty the King’s sustainability theory.
volunteers assist the agricultural and village students develop their English language skills and assist on the farm where necessary, whilst at the same time provide a client base for a local Home Stay / Guesthouse industry to accommodate them, and buy the ‘sustainably farmed’ produce. As it is an operating farm the tasks will vary from day to day. Many of the tasks the resident agricultural students will undertake are routine and will be undertaken everyday e.g. feeding the animals and watering the plants. Other tasks will be more specific such as harvesting of crops, making organic fertilizer, insecticide, conducting lab checks for chemicals etc. Each provides an opportunity for you to teach English in an interactive way, whilst learning about sustainable agriculture, and the lives, customs. Cultures of the students you are assisting.