Thailand has been investing in the development of its organic food sector for several years under the National Organic Action Plan (2017-2022), implementing more than 340 projects over the past five years.
According to the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), these efforts have paid off in the continuous increase of organic exports from Thailand over the years, which have shown an average growth rate of 44.46%. per year from 2017 to 2020.
“Thailand’s main organic export products that have seen significant increases are rice, durian, mangosteens, young coconut, coconut milk and green tea, and between January and November 2021, organic export market was valued at 1.24 billion baht ($36.2 million)”,MOAC said via an official statement.
“Organic rice is our main key export with a value of 879 million baht ($25.7 million) last year, and the main import markets are the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Vietnam, China and Switzerland.
“It is Thailand’s goal to become the leader in the production of organic food in the ASEAN region and we will continue to work towards this on the basis of the principle of sufficiency economy in order to achieve this. reach.”
The principle of sufficiency economy is a national philosophy based on the fundamental principles of Thai culture, emphasizing development based on moderation, prudence and social immunity, and guided by knowledge and virtue .
To continue its quest to achieve the top spot in ASEAN organic development, MOAC is currently developing the Organic Agriculture Action Plan (2023 – 2027). Significantly, this upcoming policy is expected to place more emphasis on technology and development downstream of the organic food supply chain.
“The main development issues that will be addressed in the new action plan will include the promotion of research, technology and innovation in the sector, including the development of a database on organic agriculture ; Strengthen the production potential and management of the organic agricultural sector; Raise organic product standards and certification systems; and Develop more effective marketing and outreach methods for the organic sector,”the ministry said.
“For this, the MOAC has been allocated an overall budget of 851.1 million baht (24.9 million dollars) to stimulate the development of the sector through a total of 94 projects.
“Individual budgets to tackle each of these issues have also been defined: to promote research and develop the database, 48 projects are planned with a budget of THB 176.8 million (5.2 million US dollars); To improve the supply chain, 21 projects are planned with a budget of THB 552 million (US$16.1 million); and to develop marketing strategies and raise standards, 25 projects are planned with a budget of 122.3 million baht ($3.6 million).
As well as rising to the top of the organic sector, Thailand also has big plans to grow the local cannabis industry, being so far the only market in Southeast Asia to delist cannabis with a THC level below 0.2% of its narcotics list, as well as the first to allow the use of medical marijuana since 2018.
But it’s clear the nation has bigger plans for cannabis, having launched the development of a dedicated facility to support research and innovation for the industry.
“The purpose of this facility is to be the research and development center for the cannabis genus, hosted by MOAC, covering research on integrated production technology, refining guidelines for on-site preparation, providing the best advice on storage and control of use for those applying for planting permits, and more”,said MOAC Deputy Minister Mananya Thaiset.
“Cannabis is a new kind of economic cop for Thailand, with immense potential to create careers and stable incomes for local farmers, and the government is very keen to support the growth of this industry. [and] develop this facility as a model center for cannabis production [particularly] in the ASEAN region.
The facility is a closed system research building with a 1,780m2area, which should be completed this year.