09 January 2024, Bangkok: FAO Director-General QU Dongyu today visited Thailand’s Land Development Department (LDD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, underlining the country’s key role as a proponent of sustainable soil management in the Asia and Pacific region as he began a three-day visit to Bangkok.
At the Land Development Department, steward of Thailand’s Soil Museum, the Director-General examined the various types of soil collected at the facility. Among those receiving him were Pramote Yajai, Director-General of LDD, Arthit Sukhkasem, Deputy Director-General for Academic Affairs and Anuwat Pothinam, Deputy Director-General for Operations at LDD.
In the LDD’s soil laboratory, the Director-General participated in examinations of soil and water, including soil Ph level. The Director-General was also briefed on the Soil Doctors programme which aims to provided extensive training on soil sampling, with a target of 27,000 persons – one for each village in Thailand.
The Director-General encouraged the soil scientists to continue their valuable work and urged them to share their expertise with other countries, particularly those with similar ecosystems. “Transfer your knowledge through the FAO Regional Office (for Asia and the Pacific) that is what I’d really like to see – for you to make use of the Regional Office to reach out to other countries in the Asia and the Pacific region so they can learn more from you,” Qu said to the scientists.
The Director-General signed a clay plaque at the entrance to the Soil Museum, and inscribed the Chinese proverb “soil is the mother of the earth.”
Following the work initiated by Thailand’s late King Bhumibol the Great, the country made significant investments in agriculture, prioritizing soil health preservation. Thailand provided significant political support to FAO for the launch and consolidation of the Global Soil Partnership, World Soil Day, the Global Soil Doctors Programme and Global Soil Laboratory Network (including the Asian Soil Laboratory Network).
In recent years, FAO has been working to strengthen the position of LDD as a strategic partner. This includes providing laboratory equipment and offering technical and financial assistance for the establishment and operation of the Center of Excellence for Soil Research in Asia (CESRA). FAO and LDD are also actively collaborating in the joint implementation of a number of projects.
Bangkok’s “Green Lung”
Earlier, Qu planted a tree at a Royal Forestry Department site in Bang Kachao, a green space within Bangkok and sometimes referred to as the city’s green lung given its mangroves and canals.
The tree, called Magnolia Champaca Baill, is a high-value species which grows mainly in wet tropical biomes. The Director-General said the area of Bang Kachao “could one day become Bangkok’s Central Park. In 10, 20, 30 years from now” as the city grows, this area could be a conservation site for people.
Qu also took a soil sample from the area, which has mangroves and other plants interspersed with canals. The soil sample was presented to the Land Development Department, where the Director-General examined a variety of different soils at the LDD’s Soil Museum near the capital.
(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)