ASEAN Farmers’ Organisations Support Programme
Twenty-five smallholder farmers in the Network of People’s Organisations for Bantad mountain range in the southern province of Trang in Thailand have formed a collective to diversify and protect their incomes when the price of rubber, the traditional local crop, falls. The initiative, supported by the EU-funded AFOSP, involves switching from a cash crop monoculture to an agro-ecological production system involving local bees being fed with nectar from coconuts, betel nuts, coffee trees and mangoes. In 2019, the members doubled the number of hives and harvested more honey during the summer as a result. The expansion is gradual in order to ensure that production remains entirely natural by, for example, ensuring the plantation where the bees are kept is chemical-free. The collective is also working to improve the packaging and product quality of their honey.
I earned little from producing rubber, so now I grow other trees and fruit without using chemicals and keep bees. We use local bees and we have rules to ensure that our bees are kept naturally. This means our customers trust the quality of our honey and demand is higher than our output.Khuk Pheuakchai, leader of the Honey Collective