The Venerable Manus Khantithammo is a monk at Wat Po Thong in Salaeng sub-district of Chantaburi. Since 1996 he has organised 116 community savings groups with 35,000 members.
“Most of the farmers in this area grow fruit. The biggest problem is the use of pesticides in the orchards. These farmers are making a living, but in the meantime they are destroying their health. They use all kinds of chemicals, in large amounts. For example, Durian farmers use pesticides every week, sometimes every 3 days. Not only is this a health problem, it is also an economic problem because farmers have to spend a lot of money on these chemicals. This is why am encouraging these farmers to use organic methods.”
“When I talk to farmers, I use the Buddhist principle of non-violence (ahimsa). I explain that there are millions of lives in a handful of soil. In one square metre of land we can find so many insects, spiders, worms and micro-organisms. And in an orchard, there is an entire ecosystem that includes different kinds of birds, frogs, lizards and other creatures. If farmers use chemical pesticides they are killing these living things, which means they are killing Mother Earth. If Mother Earth dies, then so will everything else: the trees, and eventually human beings. When farmers understand more about nature, they are able to understand more about their own lives.”
“Many groups of fruit farmers in this area have now replaced pesticides with micro-organisms (also called EM, bio-fertilizer etc). Our project helps farmers to produce their own micro-organism from molasses. As a result, farmers are helping nature instead of harming it.”