Participatory Development of Young Smart Melon Growing Farmers Network, POSA Sub-District, Muang District, Angthong Province, Thailand
An agricultural occupation without networking is mostly unsuccessful in Thailand and this includes melon growing farmers in Angthong Province. Creative agriculture such as the development of “Young Smart Farmer Networking” is one alternative to solve the said problem. Thus, this research focused on participatory development of “Young Smart Melon Growing Farmers Network” in Posa Sub-district, Muang district, Angthong province. Data collection was done with 16 melon growing farmers, and three concerned agencies in district and provincial levels. This research comprised2 phases: 1) an analysis of data on the situation and factors effecting participatory development of young smart melon growing farmer gained by In-depth interview and 2) networking development of smart young melon growing farmers by 4 steps of participatory action research method namely: 1) Planning by using A-I-C technique 2) Action 3) Observing and 4) Reflection. Obtained data were analyzed by using content analysis. The results revealed that, melon was the new fruit for farmers’ extension responsible by Provincial Agricultural Office. However, high investment cost, no new technology of watering system, greenhouse, production standard and quality control were recognized as the limitation.In terms of factors’ effecting development of young smart melon growing farmers network, the network empowerment and supporting by the government were considered. The results of participatory networking development of young smart farmers were as follow: First, farmers needed quality network in the near future (A). Moreover, the farmers had indicated and made sequence of the important future project objectives for the development of young smart farmers (I). The farmers together with concerned agencies and the researcher team participated in setting project activities (C). The Second, the development of production processing activities was done. Third, only five households attended the activities, but there were another 14 farmers who were interestedin joining the project. For Last Step, an appreciation of farmers in producing and providing soil nutrient providing was found. The knowledge and understanding of melon processing, watering system technology, and closed-greenhouse were additional knowledge required by the farmers.
Keywords - Young Smart Farmer, Participatory Development, Melon Growing Network