On February 10, 2023, the Department of Land Development Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives held its annual Volunteer Soil Day event under the theme "Doctor Soil Volunteers Leading Production Conquering the Market". The event was chaired by Dr. Chalermchai Sri-on, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and attended by more than 7,700 volunteer soil doctors from across Thailand.
In his remarks, Dr. Chalermchai praised the work of the Volunteer Soil Doctor Network and expressed his appreciation for the Department of Land Development's efforts to promote and develop the network. He emphasized the importance of the theme of this year's event, which focuses on market-led production and the development of entrepreneurial skills among volunteer soil doctors.
The Department of Land Development's main mission is to develop agricultural soil resources and plan appropriate land use to increase agricultural productivity. However, with limited staff and a vast area of responsibility covering 150 million rai of agricultural land and 9.2 million registered farmers, the department has relied on the Mor Din Volunteer project since 1995 to support its mission. The project has been very successful, with four levels of volunteer soil doctors - village, district, provincial, and national - playing a crucial role in coordinating public relations, transferring knowledge on land development to farmers, and promoting sustainable soil management.
The Volunteer Soil Doctor Network has gained a well-known reputation both within and outside Thailand, and has been adopted by international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the Global Soil Doctor Program. The network's members are seen as role models for agricultural land development and have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs.
The focus on market-led production at this year's Volunteer Soil Day event is a key part of the Department of Land Development's strategy to accelerate marketing promotion and push for agricultural products to meet the quality and standards demanded by the market. The goal is to strengthen farmers through a network of volunteer soil doctors who are skilled in using innovation and agricultural land management technology to reduce production costs and increase productivity.
The event was broadcast live via video conference application Zoom and Facebook Live to 76 provinces across the country, and included activities to build morale and promote camaraderie among volunteer soil doctors and Land Development Department officials. The Department of Land Development is committed to continuing its support for the Volunteer Soil Doctor Network and its efforts to promote sustainable soil management and market-led production in Thai agriculture.