Producer Profiles

ORFSC - Organic Rice Fund Surin Agriculture

The small-scale farmers of the Surin Rice Fund Cooperative focuses on promoting organic agriculture as a way to address rural poverty, improve the environment, and support sustainable community development. The organization was founded in 1992 and became Fair Trade Certified™ in 2003. Nurturing between five and ten acres of land, farmers produce ancient varieties of healthy, delicious rice. The saline soil of the region provides outstanding conditions for aromatic Jasmine rice, along with the nuttier Red Jasmine rice and exotic Coral and Black Sticky rice.

The cooperative's dedication to environmental stewardship has contributed to Surin, Thailand being named the country’s first official organic province. Located near the Cambodian border, rice fields stretch to the horizon, providing both a source of livelihood for a majority of the population in the region as well as a point of religious gathering. Becoming Fair Trade Certified by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) in 2003 has supplied organic farmers with a guaranteed market and reduced migration to cities by farmers in search of other employment opportunities.
 

Quotable

Producing organically is safe both for the producer and the consumer, and it conserves the environment in every way. We can find that natural balance for our fields again. If we grow organically, we become sustainable.  

Thong Ma, Rice Farmer

Programs

Organic Agriculture

Fair Trade premiums help the organization fund technical training programs in organic agriculture techniques and standards. Through the community forest conservation program, for example, villagers learn how to best protect the forest from loggers and ensure its use is for a sustainable community purpose.

Productive Capacity Investments

The cooperative purchased its own rice mill and trains local villagers in the sorting and packaging process.

Education and Environmental Stewardship

The cooperative helps fund local schools, temples and villager-led community organizations and makes annual donations for school supplies and infrastructure improvements. A program called Local Wisdom Education promotes environmental stewardship among village children by teaching sustainable agricultural techniques, incorporating children into the conservation of the forests, and overseeing an organic garden in which children grow food to sell at the local organic farmers' market.