Jumping into the pond
Feb 6th, 2022
GreenAnt’s first project in Thailand officially launched in early January. The first steps involved setting up two demonstration plots at Thailand’s Institute for Technological and Scientific Research (TISTR), beginning the first trials with two farmers and offering an ant farming and biocontrol training program to researchers from three different research stations from TISTR.
The two demonstration plots on the Lamtakong Research Station are made up of mango and citrus trees and showcase the ants as a successful biocontrol.
The second milestone is the establishment of two partnerships. The first partner, Thong Somboon Club, is a resort that offers agritourism activities. They are working with us to build a queen nursery of 100 trees; the trees will be a mix of mahogany, mango and pomelo. We will also work with them to establish an activity related to Weaver ants for their agritourism program.
The second farm is family-run and mainly grows mango and custard apples. As the first demonstration, we farm ants on 50 of their trees, which means they no longer have to use pesticides for that area, making their transition to organic products less costly.
The training program for researchers is another positive step towards developing the project. It is a condensed course that spanned from the 1st to the 3rd of February, and it gives researchers an overview of the knowledge and techniques needed to farm the ants. At the end of the course, they received a certificate for completing an introductory course to ant farming. This program will be offered to farmers the following week with the help of the researchers.
These milestones have been steps towards GreenAnt’s mission to exchange knowledge between science and agriculture and researchers and farmers. Researchers are gaining insight into the practical problems that farmers face, and farmers are gaining skills on how to use nature to their advantage.