Thailand aims to become a center for organic farming

Thailand is promoting itself as the centre of organic farming and trading in Asean and aims to become one of the world’s major suppliers of organic products.

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Thailand is promoting itself as the centre of organic farming and trading in Asean and aims to become one of the world’s major suppliers of organic products.

Director General of the Department of Internal Trade, the Ministry of Commerce Mrs. Nuntawan Sakuntanaga said, “The Organic & Natural Expo 2017 is the biggest organic and natural fair in not just Thailand but also the ASEAN region. Featuring the greatest range of Thai organic products, it is really the biggest organic market. The Organic & Natural Expo is held just once a year especially for organic manufacturers and consumers, particularly the health-conscious people who know about organic benefits. The Organic & Natural Expo 2017 also contributes to the establishment of the ASEAN Organic Federation.

The Ministry of Commerce has already invited organic entrepreneurs from other ASEAN nations to attend the federation’s meeting, which is co-organized by the Thai Organic Trade Association and the ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, during the expo. They are also invited to attend Business-Matching sessions with Thai entrepreneurs and exhibition of products at the Organic ASEAN Pavilion”. 

She said organic products have become a global trend, it is estimated that the world’s organic market will be worth up to USD80 billion or Bt2.95 trillion in the future growing by the average rate of 20 per cent a year.

“Major markets for organic products are: 1) United States and Canada, which have the market value of about USD40 billion; 2) Europe that has the market value of around USD20-30 billion; 3) Other markets including Asia, China, and Australia, which together are valued at more than USD8 billion. In the ASEAN regions, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand are key markets. The Thai organic market is worth about Bt2.73 billion. Thai organic exports, valued at about Bt1billion, enjoy the annual growth rate of approximately 10 per cent,” she continues. 

“The world has now had 318 million rai of organic farms. On average, organic-farm size in the world has risen by 2 per cent every year. In Thailand, organic farms cover about 300,000 rai of land. The number accounts for two per cent of Thailand’s total farm area. In ASEAN’s region, Thailand’s organic farm area is the fourth biggest. Organic farmland in Thailand, moreover, has an opportunity to grow by up to 99.8 per cent. Given that Thailand is the quality food hub, with Thai food up to good standard and enjoying global demand, Thailand has great advantages. When coupled with its strategic location and good transportation system, Thailand has really had a high chance of becoming the ASEAN’s organic-farming leader. The advantages that Thailand has will allow Thai organic products to differentiate themselves from others in terms of quality, to expand their customer base, and to acquire added value for exports,” she adds.

“To establish Thailand as the ASEAN’s leader of organic manufacturing, trading and consumption, the Department of Internal Trade has drawn up the Organic Market Development Strategy 2017 – 2021. The strategy has four core parts:
1) Raising awareness of everyone in the chain supply that organic food is good to both health and environment;
2) Raising the standards of organic farming and their certification to boost consumers’ confidence in organic products;
3) Developing and expanding the market for organic products/services by increasing marketing channels based on the principle that the bigger the market, the higher the production capacity. As organic farms expand, production cost will then get lower. When organic products then become cheaper, more people will consume them; and
4) Adding value to organic products/services by means of processing and innovations. For example, organic rice can be developed into dietary supplements or cosmetics. Through such process, their value can jump by hundreds of times,” Mrs. Nantawan concludes.