The beginning of the FTS network

Back in 2008 Bruno went to Thailand to search for additional sources for organic rice for an organic babyfood project where we needed not only organic but also analytically very pure qualities.

On that trip Bruno met some scattered farmers groups that had been working diligently for years to eliminate pesticides and insecticides from their farms and return to a traditional natural agricualtural systems.

Their first focus was not on production for export but to heal their own environment and produce healty food for their own families. They had good agricultural practice, an informal structure, no legal framework and neither national nor international certifications.

Meeting these farmers was the beginning of a great adventure that eventually led to the foundation of the partnership between many Community Enterprises in Amantcharoen and Foodtech Solutions.

Initially we partnered with about 3000 organic farmers, mostly certified according to Thai standards, some certified internationally. After setting up a structured internal control system we learned again the truth of the saying: “It is not all gold that shines.” We found whole villages of farmers that were not aware that they were certified organic! In other cases we found that local leaders had concentrated on teaching the farmers how to give correct answers during inspections instead of teaching organic agriculture.

We pretty quickly went down from 3000 to 120 farmers and with that core group started the rebuilding process.

Today the FTS partner network consists of more than 600 Farmers, mostly in the southern part of Amantcharoen Province.

The Community Enterprises have joined in a Community Enterprise Network.

A Community Enterprise Network is a meta structure under the Community Enterprise Promotion Act B.E. 2548 (2005). It allows Community Enterprises to join together to promote their common business interest on a larger scale.This instrument is not very common and subsequently not easy to setup. According to a document published by the ministry of agriculture and cooperatives there are about 38.000 Community Enterprises in Thailand in the area of agricultre and food production but less than 150 Networks (as of June 2011).

If set up and managed properly the Community Enterprise Network allows the farmer to gain the profits from their sales through the Network virtually taxfee. This is a major incentive to the farmers and one of the main commercial reason we have promoted and assisted in setting up this type of business structure for our farming partners.

The goals of the FTS Network are

To preserve the environment by applying organic agricultural knowhow and to eliminate the application of chemical substances.

To reduce the input cost and increase productivity by applying know how gathered and exchanged in the network and with 3rd party experts.

To become self reliant for seed and organic fertilizer production from raw material within the network.

To develop the village and community infrastructures by sharing know how and investing the fairtrade premiums for the common good.

To increase each farmer’s income and standard of living by increased productivity and by selling with a premium for certified organic production.

Structure and work

In the General Assembly all farmers will meet minimum once a year to discuss the general guidelines, rules and regualtions and where the Management committe, the Audit Committee and the officers are elected.

The board that manages the day to day business of the network. Today it consists of 5 women and 8 men.

All voting members of the network are farmers, work the fields themself and live in the rural communities.

The FTS Farmers Network is certified by the International Fairtrade Labeling Organisations FLO.

All organic farmers that are in cooperation with Foodtech Solutions farm in compliance with the organic agricultural standards of Thailand, the European Union, the USA, China and Japan. Today certification has been done according to EU and US standards, certifications according to chinese and japanese standards are possible upon request.