Transparancy 4.

No maps. I have visited all bookshops in Bangkok, all big malls I saw. And they are big. One has 4 different Sony shops in it. I was searching for only one thing: a map of Thailand that would have the names of the villages on it. There is no such printed map. Many farlang (the Thai word for foreigners) say they think it exists, but no-one could show me one. Very very luckily I had bought a map that contained a CD rom, and this CD rom has rather detailed roads. Still has not all the villages, but every 5 km there is a shrine ( a WAT ) and these are all on the map. That is how I found my way in Thailand in a rented car or motorbike. ( I spent many hours in internet-shops, printing out small maps and glue-ing them together to larger maps. Yes, Thailand may have no maps, but it has many many internet-shops.) Even if Thai organic farmers would like to become completely transparant and invite ’the world’ to visit and control their fields at will and unannounced, it would not be possible. Few road signs, difficult to get information. There are not so many road signs, and almost all of them are in Thai language. It takes quite some study to learn this. To go unannounced to an organic farm for inspection is very difficult. I cannot remember having seen a street name in a village. If one wants to make an unexpected visit, one always depends on local informers. Very few speak english. Once I was in a village. I knew it had to be the right village, but the locals did not recognize the name as I pronounced it. Then I asked them the name of the organic farmer. No recognition. As I had his phone number I dialed it and gave the phone to the people. Together they wordked it out: the farmer would come to pick me up. It had taken me 5 hours to find him, but I left him after 20 minutes, because I was not interested in his organic asperages. I had searched for him to be able to ask in an unsuspicious way the adress of my Competitor’s farm. I knew it was no more than 40 km away froim his farm. But he did not speak one word of English, so I left after 20 minutes. Where can I find ACT ? A Thai adress has maximally these data: Changwat = province Amphoe = district Tambun = village-area Moo Ban = village Th = thanon (?) = street I am not sure about Moo and Th. Even Thai differ in opinion about these. Strangely enough I cannot go to the ACT organsation. In the 2004 guide of IFOAM they only give the province and the district name and a road name. It would be like : You will find ACT in: Bakerstreet, Orange County, Pensylvania. If you don’t know the name of the town or village and the number of the house you cannot find it. The other three Thai organisations in the IFOAM book are adequate. The Sekai organisation picks up the phone but knows no farmers let alone their adresses. Green net does never take up the phone and has moved out of the adress that is given in the Ifoam book. The third adress dealt a.o. with agricultural production so I did go to them directly instead of calling (and then be discouraged to visit them) As I arrived I understood from the receptionist that they were present. I had to wait at the door. It took many minutes before the receptionist came back. I was led into a side room where I saw some organic packed rice on display. Then a man came in with a telephone and his female boss spoke to me. She said she was 500 km away. She was not really willing to have a conversation with me. When I asked about ACT she said: ” They do their best to do ………….” I wrote only these words down, but she was negative about ACT ’s controlling work, is what I remember. I thought it very well possible that the woman was only 6 meters away, but had no interest in transparancy.