The Pikun Thong Royal Development Study Centre was founded on January 6, 1982, at Muang District in Narathiwat Province. Formerly, the area in this region was made up of swamp land which contained poor quality acidic soil that could not be used for agriculture. Thus, the Centre focuses attention on conducting study and research on peat soil and development of organic soil to ensure its optimal benefits in agriculture as well as promoting occupational development in several fields such as agriculture, animal husbandry and agro-industry which are suitable for the area. There is also the promotion of community participation to sustainably conserve and preserve the ecological system. These all are implemented with the aim of helping the farmers to become self-reliant. The Land Development Department is the central agency for coordination.
1 To implement His Majesty’s royal initiative to study development in the swampy areas of Narathiwat by emphasizing results of greater quality
2 To eliminate poverty, raise the standard of living of the people and to provide the people with opportunities to become self-reliant
3 To be a centre for research, training and technology transfer, and to be a source of community education and development-oriented tourism emphasizing concepts of meeting basic needs and establishing self-sufficiency
4 To improve the effectiveness of administration and management of work by following His Majesty’s principles for development
The overall management of the projects implementation in the Centre is under the responsibility of the Land Development Department.
The Pikun Thong Royal Development Study Centre is an umbrella organization that coordinates the work of the 29 agencies involved in the various development activities in Narathiwat and others initiated and commissioned by His Majesty the King. The work is directed within the framework of the Master Plan and is carried out in accordance with His Majesty’s principles for development – that problems should be researched and understood thoroughly and that solutions should be appropriate to local conditions, knowledge and culture. The work of the Centre focuses on the activities as follows:
1 Study, Experimentation and Research
2 Rehabilitation and Conservation of Natural Resources and Environment
3 Social, Economic, and Basic Structural Development
In effect, since its establishment in 1982, the research and operations carried out by the Pikun Thong Royal Development Study Centre have improved the condition of the peat soil through utilizing limestone dust together with application of irrigation techniques in maintaining the underground water at the appropriate level and use of fresh water to leach acidity from the soil. This helps upgrade the soil fertility and enable the cultivation of many species of plants such as rice, fruit crops, palm oil, coconut, legumes and vegetables which leads to the increase of the farmers’ income. The success of the Centre in this aspect has been recorded and published in the form of farmers’ handbook on acid sulphate soil and treatment methods for free distribution.
Moreover, techniques to increase agricultural production have been developed; for example, rice can now be cultivated two times a year and the yield has increased 3-4 folds per rai. Intercropping system has also been studied. As a result, there has been a success in the cultivation of crops in the peat soil areas as well as planting of sweet zalacca, flowers and herbal plants. There is also improvement of the pH condition in ponds with peat soil by using limestone dust to reduce acidic content in order to enable freshwater fish breeding. The annual income of the farmers in the surrounding villages has subsequently increased from 8,918 Baht in 1982 to 59,663 Baht in 1994 per household. In addition, the effective implementation of the Child Development Centres which focuses on developing nutrition for preschool children through providing special care and disseminating knowledge has decreased the number of malnutritious children from 45.59 percent to 19.14 percent in only one year (1994-1995).
In conclusion, the research and operations carried out by the Pikun Thong Royal Development Study Centre have considerably contributed towards solving the problem of land scarcity for appropriate utilization of resources as well as conserving and protecting the environment. The results of the research and studies have also benefited the development work of the government agencies and have provided the people with the opportunity to adopt appropriate practices to upgrade their livelihood and quality of life. Above all, the Centre has reached the point of being the model of success and the paradigm of agricultural development patterns the results of which can be simply applied on the farmers’ lands.
Muang District, Narathiwat Province 96000 THAILAND
Tel: 66 7354 2062-3 Fax: 66 7354 2061