Open Access
Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 28, Number 2, April-June 2008
Page(s) 291 - 297
Published online 22 March 2008
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 28 (2008) 291-297
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2008006

Refining and disseminating site-specific nutrient management technology in Thailand

Tasnee Attanandana1, Prateep Verapattananirund2 and Russell Yost3

1  Department of Soil Science, Kasetsart University, 50 Phaholyothin Road, Jatujak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
2  Eco-Community Vigor Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand
3  Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Science, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI, 96822

Accepted 7 January 2008; published online 22 March 2008

Abstract - The development of site-specific nutrient management technology for maize in Thailand began in 1997. The site-specific nutrient management technology was simplified by using soil test kits in the field, field identification of soil series and subsequent referencing of soil properties by soil series, and by organizing and developing a site-specific recommendation with a decision aid. The second aspect of the conceptual approach was not only to simplify the technology but also to empower and build farmer capacity. The dissemination process was modified in 2002 to increase farmer empowerment by identifying and empowering farmer leaders. The two main components: (1) simplifying the agricultural technology and (2) building farmer capacity resulted in higher maize yields and profit by the farmers. Increased self-reliance, a better standard of living, more knowledge of crop production, soil improvement and networking of the farmer associations were all observed. The SimCorn software was developed to aid decision-making by providing on-site calculations of the Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) fertilizer recommendations using soil series identification and soil test kit results. Assistance in calculating the bulk blending of fertilizer was also given in the software. Techniques designed to empower farmers were tested and found to be effective. These techniques included social mapping to identify farmer leaders, sharing knowledge, knowledge capture and management, and scaling up of the improved knowledge and capability. Farmer leaders learned to implement site-specific nutrient management and to disseminate the technology to other farmers in their community. The farmer leaders obtained not only better income but improved soil and water management for sustainable agriculture. The technology was initially developed for maize production systems but was extended to rice and sugarcane farmer leaders as well.

Key words: site-specific nutrient management / maize / rice / sugarcane / dissemination of technology / empowerment / capacity building

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008