Land Development in Thung Kula Ronghai,
the best production source of jasmine rice in the world
                    The project of Land Development in Thung Kula Ronghai has been carried out since the fiscal year 1981. Its purpose is to relieve the poverty of 40,000 people living in 2.1 million rai of 5 provinces including Surin, Maha Sarakham, Sri Sa Ket, Roi Et and Yasothon. Such areas have been affected by harmful physical, chemical and biological environment and resulted in rice and crop yields reduction and low life quality of people in Thung Kula Ronghai areas.
                    During the past two decades, Land Development project in Thung Kula Ronghai which has been carried out by Land Development Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives together with other 21 governmental organizations, provides opportunity for people in the area to improve their lives and encourages self-reliant economy. Obviously, production of jasmine rice 105 has been increased twofold every year. Crop yields can be produced 4 times in 5 years instead of once in 5 years.   
Polluted environment in the past
                    In the past, polluted environment in Thung Kula Ronghai area resulted in useless investment and low outcome. It is found that causes and factors of polluted environment are :
                    1. Soil salinity has been increased from 17% in 1974 to 27% in
1984. Since Thung Kula Ronghai’s location is on salt-rocky layer of Maha Sarakham series, salts are easily risen to soil surface or root zone.
                    2. Water shortage and flooding which occurred alternately during the period of growing rice not only affected rice growth but also accelerated the rising of salts to soil surface and resulted in the spread of soil salinity. If water content in root zone decreases, the air will cover the pore space in soil. Within 5 days, the decrease of pH in soil will result in aluminium release. All saline soil, aluminium affected soil and arid soil cause the wilting and death to rice and affect local people in Thung Kula Ronghai area.
                    3. Two causes mentioned above result in the poverty of farmers and lacking of the capital for soil improvement. There is no chance for production increase and the circle of poverty continues.
How to eliminate the endless circle of poverty
                    In order to eliminate the endless circle of poverty, several soil and water conservation measures have been carried out by co-operation between Land Development Department and 21 governmental organizations. Such measures are as follows :
                    1) Reforestation and preservation of replanted forest trees.
                    2) Establishment of control system of surface water and salt
drainage together with the harvest system. Rain-water and stream are gathered except underground water which tends to be saline water.
                    3) Construction of transportation system in the project area in order to facilitate the transportation of production factors such as seeds, fertilizers and chemicals to the field.
                    4) Implementation of soil improvement by adding organic matter and fertilizer in soil. Its purpose is to provide plant nutrients, cut off the way of rising salts and reduce the release of aluminium in soil.
                    5) Establishment of cropping system for soil and water conservation related to rice production which leads to sufficient revenue for farmers.
                    6) Implementation of His Majesty the King’s new Theory for agriculture to be applied to 5 methods mentioned above.
                    According to the policy of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Land Development Department in co-operation with Royal Forestry Department carry on forest plantation in the problem areas together with soil improvement by using such organic fertilizer as compost and green manure.
                    Land Development Department has already processed the improvement of farming areas which cover 700,000 rai. In the fiscal year 2003, the target areas cover 40,000 rai with the budget of 148 million baht. The process includes building the canal system which provides the control system of salt and water drainage together with the water harvesting system which rain-water and stream are gathered. Soil removed from the canal construction is also used to build the road. The road not only facilitates the transportation but also maintains the canal system which leads to the sustainability of Thung Kula Ronghai areas.
                    The environment with physical, chemical, biological, economic and social pollution has gradually been eliminated. The improvement of project area results in the environment suitable for growing jasmine rice 105 and its exportation in the future. Nowadays, the project area of Thung Kula Ronghai is the best production source of jasmine rice to feed population all over the world.