RICE FIELDS: LOCALS WAY OF LIFE IN THE LOWLANDS
Area size 10,936.864 square kilometers of the 3 southern border provinces It is allocated for agricultural use to 50.38% of the total area. Although rubber is the number one economic crop in the area that uses the area to be planted and has the highest yield compared to other crops, the “rubber plantation” is closely related to the production to be sent to the industrial process. This is different from rice cultivation where ties are placed in the community economy. The survey examining the way of rice farming operators and the journey of this type of agricultural produce is important in terms of reflecting the connection between the people of the area and between them and the culture that surrounds the peasant society in the southern border provinces.
Table 3 shows an overview of the number of economic crops planted areas and the amount of production in the province in 2018.
Diagram 10: Comparison of planting areas (rais) of economic crops in Chiang Mai Province in 2018
For this reason, it is the origin of both a trend in the past that people dumped rice fields into rubber plantations, resulting in many abandoned fields. And it is the origin of both the sayings of the elders in Waeng community, Waeng District, Narathiwat Province, who always warned people in the community that “Rubber is a stepdaughter. Rice is the real child.” The initiative to push back the almost 200 rai of abandoned rice fields to start farming again since 2006 in the Waeng neighborhood came without economic motivation as the first reason. Ultimately, but because “…after we revived the abandoned fields, we gained friends and gained good health back. Get the traditional way because there are more fish in the field to catch and eat as food. Therefore, the cultivation of rice is more than rice…” That is to say, rice cultivation and production For Pattani Area/Southern Border Provinces It is an economic activity that is significantly more at the socio-cultural dimension than the commercial economic dimension.
Initial planning of this research project would like to collect data on lifestyles and connections of people in the lowland areas of the southern border provinces by surveying the cultivation and production of rice in Panare and Tak Bai districts, but due to the epidemic situation of infectious diseases The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted in researchers being unable to enter the target area to coordinate networks and hold conversations as originally planned. Therefore, the data collection plan had to be modified to collect data via online platforms and changed the target area to Nong Chik District as the main area. Because the researcher has a network that can provide information without coordinating or getting more familiar with each other as in the area according to the first floor plan. along with the network in Ajarn Nongjik is ready to chat online and has knowledge. Extensive familiarity with Khaen and the lowland areas of the southern border provinces It also requires documented research to compensate for the depth and complexity of information from community discussions that cannot be carried out. The content from now on appears in the form of an interview.
Historical dynamics of farming in Ban Tanod, Rueso and Nong Jik districts
The history of rice cultivation, farming and agriculture in the Nong Jik area can be traced back to the Rayakuning period. which is comparable to the Ayutthaya period of Siam In the days of Raya Kuning has begun to enforce villagers to dig canals make an irrigation system for farming and agriculture And another part is to help solve the problem of flooding by adding more drainage channels into the sea. As a result of that time, most of the canals in Nong Jik were formed during Rayakuning and Rayahiyao, although the yields from the paddy fields were not sufficient for serious commercial operation. and there is a challenge from the suitability of the area for rice cultivation. But Nong Jik people, like in Don Rak Sub-district, are still doing a lot of farming today because it is “a land that has been farming since ancient times,” according to Sahari.
Long-term farming has resulted in this area having an interesting story. especially the status of being an important rice growing area in the past resulting in a total Attracting power workers from the surrounding areas to the fields So including moving into the Kedah people’s rice fields. from Malaysia side and vice versa The Kedah people, when they came to work in the fields, also persuaded people from this area to switch to farming on the Kedah side as well. The movement between farming workers in this pattern results in social exchanges no less than the distribution of the rice species. It is the origin of a local species. “Kadah rice” refers to rice varieties that come from Kedah itself.
Pattani/Southern Border Provinces have a complex terrain between coastal and mountainous areas. with not many plains The lowland areas where rice can be cultivated are therefore important in terms of food security, economy and political power. So in ancient times The lowland areas that can be farmed are therefore often located within under the close supervision of parents In addition to the Nong Jik area, there are many cases where the above conclusions are consistent, such as the plains at the foothills of Ban Ta Nod, Rue So District, Narathiwat Province, where historical streams are closely linked to Raman City. As the area of ”farm Luang” of the governor of Raman, if you retreat and consider the overview of the area around Ban Tanod in history, you will find that people farmed in 3 different ways, depending on with geography as the first determining factor and political power as a secondary determining factor, namely
(1) The lowland areas that produce the highest quantity and quality will be used for royal farming. which is called the cultivation of black rice This is an irrigated farming which must be done in a flat area and can control the amount of water by collecting and dividing it across the area that is divided by the rice fields thoroughly. This irrigating area in the case of Ban Tanod in the past was under the power of the Raman lord since the beginning. According to many communities in the Budo Mountains, the Raman lord extended this type of farming throughout the plains. by organizing people to take care of the fields and have villagers pay tribute to paddy to Kota Bharu When he extended to Ban Tanod, he enlisted labor to build a dam to collect water. Pioneered over 100 rai of rice fields. Later, people in Ban Tanod began to pioneer some rice farming areas. and when the rule changes The governor system has been abandoned. Later generations have started their own farming in the lowlands by learning the black farming system of the city lord. until the produce can be exchanged with other communities because the cultivation of black rice in the lowlands is more productive than the rice cultivation in the slopes leg foot or area that is twice as high
(2) an area where the foothill slopes or the flooded area does not reach the height Villagers will group together to make “Khao Na Don” or “Rai Rai”, which in the cultivated area will combine with other crops such as corn, pumpkin, cucumber, chili, eggplant, etc. The villagers will grow rice fields for consumption. mainly in the household and use labor to plant black rice or “cultivate rice” for the governor so in the past Most of the villagers, when the farming season arrives, will do royal farming in the lowlands, which is the black rice field of the Raman lord who came to pioneer the area. by sending people to control the production Tribute the paddy back to the governor of Kota Bharu. At the same time, the villagers also had to cultivate rice on the slopes of the hillsides. For this reason, the pioneering of lowland areas for paddy fields was initially formed in a similar fashion. Tanod and the neighborhood of Nong Chik District is a policy from the center of power in the area and in that era.
(3) The swamp area or “baro” is an area of abundant water resources and people use it in a variety of ways. one of them is The use of peat land to grow rice, which is called “peat farming”, the distinguishing feature of which is different from the other two types of farming. The first is that peat farming does not require much investment use only labor But there is an important thing to be aware of is to find rice varieties that are only used for peat fields. and cultivating them in time for harvesting otherwise when the rainy season may be damaged Because the species that are not resistant to water are easily damaged. as well as to find suitable peat areas or “Bue Kahsima” where the sunlight is enough. but not too much and have abundance Peat farming has its point. together with the farming of Don, which requires a lot of labor Due to the nature of economic activities, help calls for help depend on the mobilization of labor in the community within itself. In the case of peat swamps, those who farm peat will first assess the water level in the peat. If there is a lot of water, they will coordinate with the community leaders to summon villagers who work in the peat fields to a meeting to manage the water system by opening a dam or “Bukatano” to allow water out of the peat and then clearing the reeds or “Tu Bahn”. peat pods” by using specific tools such as “Ta yaw” after clearing and leave it for 10-15 days to operate by checking the water level in the peat regularly to control it properly. including harvesting in peatlands therefore had to use a harvesting boat which at present no longer remains because peat farming is at risk of flooding Hard to find rice varieties and the water in the swamp changed its original state At least since 1977, when the Department of Provincial Administration built a dam made of cement, causing the water and peat state to change to become “desolate” because it can’t be used as before or some people have converted the peatlands into large fish ponds. The use of the area with different environments also resulted in a variety of native rice varieties appearing as well. and the reduction of farming desertion Change of land use conditions including replacing the mainstream rice varieties with better prices than the market All of them resulted in a decrease in the diversity of native rice fields. This destroys the rich cost that will continue to build on the value and value in the rice production chain in the future.
Table 4 shows native rice varieties in the area of Ban Tanod, Rueso District, Narathiwat Province.
Such phenomena did not occur only in the Ban Tanod case study area. But it is a joint change of many areas in Pattani/Southern border provinces, such as the hillside plains where Yala downtown and its suburbs are located today. It used to be farming on the high ground or on the mountain. which is called rice farming But at present, there is no rice cultivation in this area. because most of the area has been converted to rubber plantations and orchards In addition, farmers, farmers nowadays turn to farming instead because they are convenient and close to the community. without going up the mountain causing all the rice seeds to become extinct
As for rice farming, also known as black farming, people in the lowland area of the foothills of Yala town have at least one tradition that stands out from Ban Tanot and Nong Chik. Choose the first day of harvesting to be the 5th day of the new moon or the 5th day of the waning moon. The farmer will leave the house early in the morning to avoid the wind and people. On the way to meet no one will not greet. When he reached his own field, he would walk around and look around. to select a rice plant that has a bunch but had to choose a tree with an odd numbered bunch, 5, 7, and 9, then wrap a thread around the tree about 4-5 plants, then take 1 banana, 1 peeled sugar cane, 1 boiled rice and hang it on the aforementioned rice plant. After that, 7 stalks of rice were harvested, tied with 1 bundle of yarn, and then about 7-10 more stalks were tying up, tied with 2 more threads, a total of 3 bundles. Put them in the prepared cloth and carry them back home. brought to the barn, which was built as a small house in the area of the house The paddy rice is put in the basket along with banana, sugar cane, boiled rice, coconut and a small bottle of water. Then put the scythe that will be used to harvest the rice Put the basket on top of the paddy left over from the previous year. Three days later, you can take out the sickle and begin the process of harvesting the rice.
The history of the “peasant community” with all such complex social dimensions has been greatly lost today. “Most of the villagers have quit farming and have changed their way of life to almost all rubber plantations and orchards,” is a memoir from Mae Sot’s field. Somada and Ngampol Japakiya, in line with the overall direction of Pattani/Southern border provinces in the past, people seem to have “thrown the rice paddies into rubber plantations” a lot due to the policy. Develop government agriculture in the past, which focused on promoting the cultivation of monocultures to replace the use of conventional farming areas, including farming. The case of Nong Jik, the change of occupation from farming and the emergence of abandoned rice fields In addition to the result of the government’s agricultural development policy. And the expected economic future picture is different for generations to come. It is also an important result of the canal digging.
Planting, harvesting, harvesting: past and present of the rice production process
The farming of the people in Nong Chik area is similar to rice planting. Of the total area held for agriculture, including the district’s total of 80,969 rai, Nong Chik people use only 6,651 rai of rice planting, with most of the land being used for perennial planting (32,791 rai), especially rubber plantations. For most of the farming areas are located in lowland areas. But with the condition of the district’s location which is connected to the coast As a result, many areas such as the Don Rak sub-district especially on the side that is in contact with Rusamilae Sub-district of Muang District Farming is not as productive as it should be because of the brackish water conditions, which are influenced by seawater. In one rai of rice field, each year, rice production may only be about 300 kantang / rai, which is approximately 960 kg. / rai only, which is considered to have very little yield per rai when compared to other lowland areas in the district that do not face brackish water problems. The average yield is about 600-700 Kantang/rai (approximately 1,920-2,240 kg/rai), which is more than double the yield per rai. But still, people in Don Rak area still do a lot of farming. because, as mentioned in the beginning, their reasoning was This settlement is a farming area since ancient times. The succession of farming to the present era of the people in the Don Rak area therefore has the characteristics of production mainly for household consumption. because the amount of production is not enough to be able to be commercially viable As for the inner territory of Nong Chik, such as Bo Thong, it is located in a rather high terrain that neither floods nor at the same time accesses water sources. This area is therefore not popular for farming. But it will be mostly a garden area. Therefore, the number of farmers is less than those on the plains next to the sea. From the above, it can be seen that One of the important factors in determining the conditions for farming is the source of water. In the past, people depended on the source of water from rainwater for farming. And later, it has been used to pump and make a channel itself, which is known as “Small Irrigation System”, the government’s water resource development guidelines, organized in the form of large projects, which appear to be The “large modern irrigation system” is located above the level of the plains used for farming. Thus, a new condition was created that water was drawn to the irrigated area The power to manage the water system for the storage and release of water that was originally in the community Therefore, it was centrally transferred to the hands of government agencies, resulting in “when farmers want water will do a minute The small ditch that had been done in the past, the water was gone, and the farming culture was gone.” Zaharie said of the dynamics affecting the farmer’s way of living in Nong Jik. and said that “When farmers want water back, they store water. But when the farmer put the seedlings down, he didn’t want the water to come. The water resource management model that has been manipulated into the hands of the government has resulted in the community leaders being the key engine of the story. By “because the bureaucratic system, the villagers will not dare to speak for themselves. Therefore, effective communication in water collection and discharge, therefore, depends in part on the individual skill, competence and level of power compared to the state mechanisms of individual community leaders. The end of the irrigation system within the area is the power relationship between irrigation, electricity and provincial governors. “When there was a problem Government agencies will throw each other back and forth. until I really don’t know And who has the power to make this decision? making it difficult for the villagers to deal with,” Zaharie said.
Rice cultivation of Nong Jik farmers It started by taking rice seeds from last year’s crop. “Assume 100 sacks of paddy will be kept for 10 sacks of paddy, soaked in water, and when the roots emerge, they will be planted in the field,” Zaharie tells us about the process. Originally, it was used to help each other sow by helping each other between relatives. and will make glutinous rice and dried fish to eat in the fields by using low-powered oxen to plow in the era before Kubota’s arrival The use of today’s labor-saving machines provides a quick and convenient solution for farmers who do not expect very high yields or do not have much time to care for their fields. Machines will help to save labor for “How to sow,” but if the farmer expected Hoping for a high quality of their produce they still have to rely on manual labor. “The method of cultivation” is the same as it has been done in the past because “if sowing is used, the overall quality will be less than that of cultivation. But sowing is suitable for those who do not have a lot of time to care. But it will fight and weeds will be more. There are less weeds to cultivate,” Zaharie said.
This stage of activity of farmers in the lowland areas of Nong Jik is different from farming upland or cultivating “Rai Rai” in the hilly slopes which are higher. as in the case of Ban Tanod, Rueso District, Narathiwat Province, where, due to the geography Planting rice requires digging holes and is labor intensive. thus demanding a natural agglomeration of activities that are more intense than the lowlands in the nature of “Pue Yae Mue Na Yo”, which means “Gang Khaek”, in the past, in the Ban Tanod area, there were still many rice crops. Farm owners planning to plant rice will choose days when it rains heavily during the day. In the evening, he would patrol and tell his neighbors to come and help lay the grain of rice the next day. where the farm owner had to prepare food for the people who would come to help Whereas farmers in Nong Jik prefer to prepare a deck of glutinous rice, grated coconut and dried fish. In kindness and gratitude to friends of the farmers of Ban Tahon, popular with glutinous rice mixed with grated coconut and pickled bitter bean. Placement of rice grains in the case of Ban Tanod can be divided into pairs, which are often paired with males and females. The first person walks in front, holding a pointed stick and ramming the soil into a hole. The people who followed, who had bamboo cut into cylinders, put rice seeds. will drop the rice seed into the hole prepared by the first Then cover the top of the soil and compact it with the end of the bamboo barrel.
Picture 1 shows the original harvesting equipment of Nong Jik farmers.
Originally in the past Farmers in Nong Jik use the main harvesting tool called “Nue Tae” or Krub, where the blade of Krub is called “Ma Tong Nue Tae” and the word Ngu Tae here holds the meaning. Meaning is used as a term for both tools and verbs that use that tool to harvest rice at the same time. It is a concept of the ancients who did not want “base”, meaning not to waste it. “Grab it all. Small branches will be collected. Rice will not be left behind no damage It is in line with the Islamic concept of not eating and leaving food,” Zahari said. In addition to Nguyen Another tool used by the local farmers together is “sada” or scythe. The manner in which the rice is harvested with a sickle is referred to as “zhiru”. However, the aforementioned tools and methods of rice harvesting are almost nonexistent today. Most of them have turned to use the combine harvester with a wage rate of about 700 baht per rai.
Traditional way of Nong Jik farmers When the rice is harvested by Ngu Tae or Sada, it is threshed by threshing it into a “ton” or a circular wooden barrel stretched with a small net. Inside the dong, there is a tang, which is like a ladder, as a tool to use the mugo, or strike it to break the grains out of the ears to obtain paddy. Zahari said that “This process takes a week to complete.”
Picture 2 shows a rice smashing tool that Nong Jik farmers had originally used.
However, nowadays it is difficult to find such a method of threshing rice. Most of the farmers in Nong Jik have been using thresher for over half a century. The earliest were originally oil-fueled machines and later switched to a machine that uses electricity as a power source about 30 years ago (During the Buddhist decade of 2520) by this process will not be done within the household. but will be sent to the community-level mill which there are many in Nong Jik These mills, as a whole, are not “owners”, owning land for farming or providing community-level funding for peasants, as is common in the case of central peasant societies. But the status of the community mill in Nong Jik neighborhood is related to the farmers in the community, only in the scheme that the mill owns the machine technology capital and the farmer is the only employer to mill the rice. The price is charged at 1 baht per kilogram. For example, a mill with a capacity of 8 horsepower will have the capacity to operate up to a ceiling of about 2 tons per day. Falling at about not more than 2,000 baht per day, which most farmers hired did not want to mill the rice for commercial purposes. but mainly focusing on color for household consumption Therefore, there is a characteristic of allocating some threshed rice and kept at home, gradually bringing it to the mill for milling to bring back to eat. The amount of rice that is sent to the production process at the community mill in the case of Nong Jik is therefore small. and when the villagers received the milled rice and returned When it is consumed or estimated to be surplus from household consumption Therefore, it will be sold within the community.
Rice storage before “rumah/umah padi” barn of each house Most will build a barn next to the kitchen. Sometimes there is a walkway connected to get the rice. But now there are only some houses left. When people don’t farm, they are abandoned, so they tear down and use it for other things. Most of the households that still farm will keep their rice in their homes. after harvest Farmers in this area tend to grow green beans in their fields. which gives a large quantity that it cannot be stored Leftovers from the fields are left for the cows to eat and when the cows excrete them into the fields it becomes manure, enriching the soil waiting for the next cycle of planting and sowing. The aforementioned mung bean cultivation yields bean sprouts, which are mostly kept for household consumption first. The rest is then sold in the community market. where some households grow mung bean and get mung bean sprouts for sale in Pattani town heavily The mung bean growing households with a focus on income rather than household consumption therefore had more family activities that members engaged in more than the general Nong Jik farmer households, namely the bean pounding activity. which will be put in sacks, smashed until broken and put them out to dry, pack them in a woven basket to sell or put in a pip to sell.
In summary, for the Nong Chik area Most of the peasants today still cultivate rice but with the primary purpose of harvesting it for household consumption. and the rest is then sold, which is supported by the main market in the community together. because when the purpose of production to be used as food in the household Therefore, the quantity of produce is not so large that it can be exported and sold outside the community. On the other hand, a common phenomenon is the ordering of rice imported from other surrounding areas. the city came in again The price of rice in the market is around 50-60 baht per Kantang, but Kampong rice costs 70 baht per Kantang approximately. The more expensive because the production is less,” Zahari said. This way of production for consumption has resulted in to the mill business that does not reap profits until it expands “Local capital” or “Owner”, which acts as a source of funds for farmers in the community like many farming areas in other regions. especially the central region The level of delivery of rice for milling is related to the desired amount of consumption by the households in each period which usually isn’t much It is the nature of the rice harvesting and the farmers will deliver the color bit by bit for consumption. Except for some parts of the year, the most important thing is “during the ordination month The month of Ramadan will be a lot of rice color. Almost didn’t color the rice even to the point of having to color the rice at night That’s a lot because it’s enough. People will also donate Zakat. Therefore, they have to bring a lot of rice from their own fields to donate to the poor people. At that time, the rice was colored a lot. People who do Zakat by donating rice will also buy more from farmers during this period,” Zahari said.
Zahari Jelong, rice farm operator and community mill Nong Chik District. Interview via Zoom program. On August 20, 2021. This article was written by Athit Thongin as part of an independent research project titled “Food Dialogue for Social Cohesion” under the Social Innovation Platform in Southern Thailand initiated by the United Nations Development Programme. in Thailand Disclaimer “The thoughts and opinions expressed in this document are from the authors and may not include the views of the United Nations. United Nations Development Program or any member state of the United Nations.”