Fellow Since 1992
This profile was prepared when Peem Pakamaetawee was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
A natural farming system -- no weeding, no chemical fertilizers, no pesticides, and no plowing -- allows farmers to produce high yields without using the chemicals that are dangerous to their health and the environment. Peem is providing Thai farmers with the practical, locally adapted knowledge needed to undertake natural farming in their rice paddies and on other agricultural lands. Peem feels that successfully demonstrated solutions to natural farming difficulties along with high yield crops will do more to convince farmers to undertake natural farming than hundreds of imported technical manuals and case studies. His research and training center collects plant "breeds," develops breed preservation techniques, experiments with various types of intercropping, and distributes natural and appropriate pesticides. Further, he has inspired four local agricultural groups in the region to establish similar demonstration and experimentation centers. The resulting coalition will enable these groups to share experiences and strategies. As his experiment progresses, he will share his successes across Thailand via written manuals. Furthermore, the coalition he has built will push for changes within the national agricultural policy. In the end, he hopes to persuade the government to encourage and promote non-chemical farming methods in place of, or at least in addition to, chemical methods.