Written by Mekong Institute  

The Northern Uplands Rice-Based Farming Systems Research Project (NURiFaR), and Mekong Institute (MI) agreed to collaborate on a specific project to develop partnership and promote cooperation between the two parties. A five-day Structured Learning Visit on Farming Systems in Thailand was conducted from January 24 to 28, 2012 for 19 Lao government officials of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR. The Structured Learning Visit aims to study Thailands Northeast Sufficiency Economy farming systems as well as the farming systems of rice, maize and peanut in Thailand.

Three MI facilitators were involved in organizing the program, facilitating discussions, and sharing experiences with the participants. The participants visited six places in Khon Kaen province and one place in Saraburi province, Thailand in order to enhance their understanding on the program contents and to apply the principles, processes, structures, and best practices learned during the entire visit. At the end of the Structured Learning Visit, the participants presented their reflections on the visit.   

The results of the evaluation showed that the Structured Learning Visit was successful both in terms of program design and contents, as well as the overall organization and management. However, there were some suggestions for improvement on time management and quality of the bus.

The participants also indicated further training needs on: the principle of establishment of cooperatives and farmer groups, the process agricultural production including producing, processing and marketing, the indigenous knowledge from successful farmers, and the breeding techniques of rice and corn.

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