The goal of this programme is to contribute to household food security and nutrition, and to strengthen family and community livelihood skills.
This is part of TBC’s efforts to promote self-reliance by providing refugees with options that can complement the food assistance delivered in camps and will be useful in a return scenario.
Among the highlights are the development of school gardens, community gardens, farmer cluster groups, farmer field schools, and kitchen (home) gardens.
Farmer Pa Gae, in his sixties, told TBC that he earned about 1,500 baht a month from his work at the community garden at Nu Po camp, and his family benefited daily from the nutritious produce.
In some camps where space is extremely limited, vertical gardening provides a solution.
The Community Agriculture and Nutrition (CAN) Handbook with guidelines on growing vegetables and fruits in small and often steep spaces as well as other agriculture tips was developed many years ago by then Karenni refugee and former mining engineer David Saw Wah.
“These days I am a sort of telephone operator, connecting traditional Karenni ways of farming with new ideas. There is little room in the camps, so we’re developing ‘limited space gardening’ to help people grow their own food and improve nutritional standards,’’ David Saw Wah said in the publication ‘Between Worlds,’ (TBC, 2004).
The gardening skills of other former Karenni/Kayah refugees were recognized on Australian national television in 2017. ABC reported on how resettled Karenni were transforming a steep hillside patch of land near a primary school into a terraced garden providing valuable organic food for local markets.
Meanwhile more than 2,000 individuals in the camps, more than 60 percent of them women, developed agricultural skills in 2016 ranging from agriculture in small spaces to crop cycle management and organic practices.
More than 5,100 households were reached in relation to agriculture activities, seeds and farm implements were distributed and coordination was increased with livelihoods working groups and the nutrition campaign.
In the first half of 2017, Farmer Field School trainings and other agriculture-related activities included almost 900 individuals, of whom 53 percent were women.