UN projects to help south Thailand recover from tsunami

BANGKOK, Jul 20, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on Wednesday initiated two projects to help southern Thailand recover from last year's tsunami hit in a sustainable way.

"It is now time to move forward with medium and longer term actions to promote sustainable livelihoods of the coastal communities, integrated and participatory coastal resource management and eco-system development," Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO's deputy regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, said at a ceremony launching the projects.

The two projects, with one million US dollars granted by the Greek government, are aimed at recovering fishery and farming communities in the next six months in southern Thailand's coastal areas.

The fishery project will explore opportunities for the supply of boat engines and other equipment to groups of small-scale fisher folk, said a statement issued here by FAO.

The project will also conduct in-depth technical assessments, stakeholder analysis and fishing resource capacity surveys in the areas affected by last year's tsunami.

The studies are expected to identify the level of available fishing resources and ensure the limited natural resources will not be over exploited.

In the agriculture sector, the UN project will provide a technical assistance package for longer term planning of agriculture rehabilitation and development.

The package includes various inputs and studies, such as a soil salinity survey.

Equipment and support will be given for chemical-free vegetable production.

The project will also respond to basic requests by affected farmers such as gypsum and organic fertilizers for soil reclamation, and seedlings for coconut, oil palm and fruit trees.

The UN Development Programme and Thailand's Agriculture Ministry also take part in the two projects.