Royal Ploughing Ceremony kicks off rice-growing season
Their Majesties King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida on Tuesday evening oversaw a ceremony to appoint the Phraya Raekna (Lord of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony) and Celestial Maidens for the Royal Ploughing Ceremony on Wednesday (May 17).
The ceremony took place at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district.
Their Majesties paid respect to Phra Phuttha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon (the Emerald Buddha) and other sacred images, and sprinkled holy water on crops for an abundant harvest in Thailand.
This year, Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary Prayoon Insakul was appointed as Phraya Raek Na, while officials from agriculture-related agencies were selected for the roles of Celestial Maidens.
The ancient royal tradition to mark the start of the rice-growing season and forecast the harvest is being held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district on Wednesday morning.
This year, the Agriculture Ministry’s Rice Department offered six types of seeds for farmers and the general public to grow on the Royal Ploughing Day for luck and prosperity in rice output.
A total of 2,244 kg. of seeds have been up for grabs at provincial agricultural offices. They are: White Jasmine 105, Pathum Thani 1, Kor Khor 6, Kor Khor 43, Kor Khor 85, and Kor Khor 87 rices.
Thai farmers also take Royal Ploughing Day as an auspicious day to start sowing rice seeds in their fields,
Ngamta Phetchawat, 54, a rice farmer in Uthai Thani province, told the Nation that she would gather family members to sow the rice seeds on Wednesday morning.
She added that sowing seeds on Royal Ploughing Day is a tradition that Uthai Thani villagers have been practising since the reign of King Rama IX, who had shown great kindness toward farmers nationwide.
Ngamta also urged the new Prime Minister and his government to fix the problem of plummeting rice prices and the rising cost of fertlisers and insecticides, which have resulted in farmers being pushed into debt.
She also urged the provision of water to rice paddy in areas outside the royal irrigation project to help combat the drought, which is expected to be more severe next year.