We often hear the sayings that farmers are backbone of the country and in the water there are plenty of fish while in the paddy fields there is an abundance of rice. These sayings are right as farmers grow rice to feed the entire nation. Rice is not only the staple food of the country, but now is one of our main export products. Therefore, farmers are the most important work force of the country.
Farmers work from dawn to dusk the whole year-round as after the annual rice harvest, they will again cultivate the second-rice crop or other cash crops, raising cattle and other animals such as fish, ducks etc. Usually fish lives by nature in the paddy fields. So, rice and fish will naturally grow up in the same place. At the end of the annual rice harvest, farmers will have both rice and fish to eat during the coming dry season. If we travel to the countryside, we will see farmers drying fish on the root of their houses along the roadside. Thus, it has become a common greeting among Thai people when they meet, they will firstly ask each other “Where do you go?” then the following sentence is “Did you eat rice and fish?”. In fact, rice and fish have been the main food of Thai people for a very long time.
Rice is mostly grown in the central region which is sometimes called the “rice bowl” of Asia because of its vast fertile land and plenty of water for agriculture. Rice farming is an old occupation which has been passed down from generations to generations. By and large farmers live a peaceful life in the countryside.
Unfortunately, this occupation is being threatened by various factors, for example, low paddy price, scarcity of water for the second-rice cultivation and the construction of housing estates or commercial complexes which frequently bring pollution to nearby areas. Moreover, the new generation tends to abandon this century-old occupation to work in factories in the city or other occupation that offers them better income.
Now it is time to help the backbone of our country to carry on their task, otherwise they cannot survive due to these various challenges. If ever our farmers are forced to give up their occupation we will definitely have to import rice to eat and if the situation turns to be like this, the occupation of our forefathers will cease to exist and Thailand will lose its name as the “rice bowl” of the world.