Thailand is one of the world’s leading exporters of rice. Rice is a staple in every meal for households and it is also a vital source of income for Karen farmers in Mae Hong Son. Without rice, many people face hunger, increased poverty and struggle to afford basic needs. How rice is grown and harvested is a fascinating and amazing process that speaks to the skill, labour and commitment of farmers.
KHT spoke with Mr PerPor about how he harvests rice and how KHT has helped him and his family.
“This year, we started to prepare the farming area in June by getting rid of the grass first. We then plough the top soil and leave it for about a week. We then plough again and sow the grains. After another week we irrigate the area and leave it for a month. We then plant, and wait for the seedlings to grow. This is when we have to be very careful and prevent any birds from eating the rice grains and making sure they are properly irrigated.
After the seedlings are mature enough and suitable for planting, we will collect one day and plant them the next day. We do this quickly because our farm is not that big, only three rai. It then takes about four months before we can harvest the rice…But before harvesting and during the growing process, we must always look at the water in the field and remove the grass if it grows. After the first month of planting, we also fertilise the land. We harvested our rice in November; this year it took us just 2 days to harvest. I harvested with my family and about 10 people from my village. If the harvest date falls on a weekend, my children will also come to help, we didn’t sell the rice before as there was only enough for us to eat, I will sell to other villagers if we had enough for ourselves.
When I was young my life was very difficult, we didn’t have electricity and washed in the road it was terrible. Now after KHT’s help in constructing a water system everything is better. I’m so glad and wanted to thank you so much for helping us, now our life is easier. I have four people in my family, one daughter and one son. They are in high school. The short-term benefits is we have water for use in our farm and life make us can earn more crops and for the long term we are healthier.”
KHT not only provides access to water all year round for Karen farmers via our WASH Systems, we also work with Karen famers to improve their livelihoods through our flood resistant irrigation systems (FRIS). The concrete FRIS is more environmentally and resource friendly than traditional bamboo and wooden dams and is permanent. Our FRIS helps ensure farmland is usable across seasons and has helped increase the yield and diversity of crops for farmers. Our water systems help reduce water poverty and support everyday life and health for Karen communities. Help us support more marginalised and forgotten villages by donating to our programmes and making a real difference for the Karen people.