Testimonio / Boonjira Tanruang





Boonjira is married without children and lives in Bangkok. She’s from the city, even though she often travels to farms throughout Thailand to work with farmers fromo the cooperative. She studied Communication at the University of Bangkok and later got her Master’s in Management in Australia. When she finished her schooling she worked for a local publicity agency and for a tourism magazine until she became part of the GreenNet team four years ago.

She tells us about the agricultural system in Thailand, where three quarters of the people live in the countryside and more than half work in agriculture. The majority are small owners who have about three hectares of land to cultivate. The main crops are rice, corn, and soy. With working the land, a farmer earns an average of about $150 USD per month.

She says about Fair Trade, “Our cooperative has been dedicated to Fair Trade since it began twelve years ago. We can guarantee dignified wages to farming families, allow them to live by working the land, and improve their lives and their community. They know how much money they’ll receive for their harvests, they have more opportunities to make decisions about production and selling, and we always guarantee that part of the crops will be left for their own consumption. Furthermore, we follow organic agriculture principles and this means that they eat healthier products and live in a healthier environment that they respect.”

She also adds, “The main disadvantage of Fair Trade is the small market, which is growing little by little and has difficulties. For example, it’s complicated to get the international certification from the Fairtrade Labelling Organization of a fair trade prdouct, and now that we have it, we pay the farmers according to these standards, and later we see that we can only sell half of it in the Fair Trade Market. The work in the field is the same, it’s not harder, even though at the beginning you have to invest more to be able to meet the criteria.”
Thanks to the dignified income they get from the sale of these products, the families create community committees to manage a fund that they use as they choose, like building irrigation systems. On the other hand, these families can pay their debts and later some families buy land that they were previously renting or buy cows that fertilize the land with their manure.

Fotografías y Texto: IO
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