The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has designated the raising of swamp buffaloes in the Thale Noi area of southern Thailand as part of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).
The GIAHS initiative was launched by the FAO in 2002, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. To date, 67 sites in 22 countries have been designated as GIAHS and many others are looking to be so recognised in the future.
Cherdsak Kuarak, a lecturer at the Faculty of Technology and Community Development at Thaksin University’s Songkhla campus, said that the GIAHS designation will promote the conservation of a unique agricultural culture, food security, sustainable development and the creation of alternative professions, besides agriculture, which will help boost revenues in rural communities.
It will also help to promote tourism in the Thale Noi area, which includes parts of Songkhla, Phatthalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces.
There are about 4,000 swamp buffalo being raised by about 300 people in an area covering about 2,800 hectares around the Songkhla Lake.