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Transforming Thai higher education for sustainable agriculture – Addressing the need for food security

The Government of Thailand is currently taking steps to promote sustainable agriculture as an alternative to conventional high- input, intensive agriculture systems in Thailand. The government sees sustainable agriculture as a helpful way to sustain the way of life of rural people in Thailand. It is not yet clear, however, whether the government can expand the concepts within sustainable agriculture and apply them to the wider conventional agricultural system, especially in the short term. This policy brief suggests that focusing on post-secondary education could be important for advancing the concepts and approaches of sustainable agriculture and implementing best practices in order to bring about long-term change.

This policy brief was drafted by the Thai SIANI Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) expert group, which held its first meeting and national dialogue in Bangkok on 19 March 2015. Experts representing eight universities and one academic institute offering agriculture programmes attended from across the country. While discussing various definitions of sustainable agriculture in a Thai context, each member shared and exchanged ideas and perspectives on the problems and issues related to researching, teaching, learning about and providing extension services for sustainable agriculture in Thailand. The group exchanged further ideas and discussed policy issues while drafting the outline for this policy brief at its second meeting—a ‘write-shop’ held at the School of Agricultural Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, on 27–28 July 2015.

This policy brief was written by the Thailand SIANI Experts’ Group on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA).

Authors: Supawan Visetnoi, Chulalongkorn University; Pradtana Yossuck, Maejo University, Unchalee Sanguanpong, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi Rut Morakot, Suranaree University. Additional Contributors: Thavivongse Sriburi, Chulalongkorn University; Suparerk Sooksmarn, Kasetsart University; Kobchai Worrapimphong; Prince of Songkla University; Abha Mishra, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thammasat University; Theerachai Haitook, Khon Kaen University; and Charnchai Sangchyoswat, Chiangmai University

Editors: Wayne Nelles, SIANI Expert Group on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) in Southeast Asia; Matthew Fielding, Project Manager, & Rajesh Daniel, Communications Coordinator, Stockholm Environment Institute (SE I), Asia.