Official Development Assistance (ODA)
South-south Cooperation in Thailand: Third-country Training Courses on Soil Management Technology

The city of Khon Kaen is located in the heart of northeastern Thailand, some 450 km northeast of Bangkok. A scenic region largely covered with gently sloping hills, northeastern Thailand has nevertheless been confronted with one major problem: briny damage and soil erosion that has considerably reduced agricultural productivity.

Khon Kaen is home to Thailand's Agricultural Development Research Center, a facility whose construction was financed by Grant Assistance of Japan. For the past 11 years, the Center has been the site of Technical Cooperation from Japan aimed at converting poor-quality soil into productive soil. As the first full-scale agricultural research facility in northeastern Thailand, the work of the Center has been highly rated both in Thailand and abroad.

Japan began holding Soil Management Courses at the Center in FY 1994 in a program that would continue for five years. Trainees not only from Thailand but also from neighboring countries like China, Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam have attended the courses learning soil conversion technology from Japanese experts as well as Thai trainers.

Thus did Thailand -- the original beneficiary of this assistance -- become the base to which trainees from the neighboring countries were invited. They are instructed, as needed, by experts dispatched from Japan, resulting in the widespread dissemination of Japanese technology. This project typifies the type of assistance that has come to be called "third-country training." As seen from the example of Thailand, a developing nation carrying on technical cooperation not only for its own benefit but also for that of its neighbors in the developing world, Japan's Third-Country Training Courses are contributing to "south-south cooperation," i.e. mutual assistance and cooperation among developing countries themselves.

Photo (Training in the field)