FAO pays tribute to Princess Sirindhorn for lifetime promotion of child nutrition and food security

TF June 8_1The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations honored Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn last week for over three decades of work dedicated to improving children’s nutrition and food security, as the Princess, separately, presided over the opening of a congress on sustainable research and development in Thailand.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Hiroyuki Konuma made a presentation to The Royal Society of Thailand as part of its tribute to the princess. Konuma cited several programs and projects Princess Sirindhorn has been involved in relating to nutrition and food security, including the Agriculture for School Lunch Project. The program “has led to more than 30 years of development work on the improvement of the quality of life of school children through agriculture for school lunches,” he said.

Konuma noted that at the beginning of the project, instead of providing children with ready-to eat meals, Princess Sirindhorn introduced a small-scale integrated farm to schools in remote areas of Thailand. “Through her work, children have been encouraged to participate in food production from these farms – from growing traditional fruits and vegetables to water management and use of biological controls to eliminate pests. The excess food produced from school farms can be sold through school cooperative shops and the surplus products are sold to local communities. The income generated is used in an agricultural revolving fund for use in the next production cycle. Through this, children also learn how to keep accounts and how to run small businesses according to the principles of the cooperatives,” Konuma said.

Princess Sirindhorn is the third child of constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. Much beloved by the Thai people and respected abroad, she has followed closely in her parents’ footsteps, dedicating herself to uplifting and improving the welfare of the people of Thailand, including hill tribe minorities.

Her concern for young people was underscored when she inaugurated the first International Congress in Interdisciplinary Approach in Thailand, addressing sustainable research and development. The two-day event from June 3 to 4 at the Impact Center in Bangkok drew hundreds of academics and experts. The congress is intended to further the interaction between two or more disciplines to address various challenges and development agendas.

Thailand is striving to improve both its education system and its research and development capacities and achievements. During her opening address, the Princess stressed the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in developing Thailand and its youth. A person must be well versed in various fields of knowledge, as well as be virtuous in his or her conduct, to be a contributing member of society, said the Princess.

Academics and experts presented a wealth of research papers on the subject and a wide range of research projects were on display in the exhibition hall.


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