By THE NATION
ACFS secretary-general Juadee Pongmaneerat notes that young smart famers have an important role to play in helping government meet its goals of expanding the organic market, as set out in the 20-year national strategic plan 2018-2037. This involves creating awareness about the food safety system among both food producers and consumers while guiding farmers to ensure their products meet health standards.
The office’s newly developed website DGTFarm.comserves as an online marketplace and is open to young farmers to place any of their products provided these are 100-per-cent organically produced. A Business Matching option is also featured while the QR Trace helps buyers access product information.
Safe food and organic products will be exhibited and farmers encouraged to adopt new marketing channels for organic produce.
“This year, we expect to train 189 young smart farmers who have expressed interest in organic farming. We are confident that our efforts will increase the number of organic plantations,” Juadee said.
According to the Department of Internal Trade, there are 40,774 farmers in 119 groups certified by organic farming standards cultivating more than 521,826.56 rai. The Ministry of Commerce’s Organic Marketing Intelligence Center reports the value of domestic organic farming products at Bt3 billion baht, with Bt900 million coming from the domestic market. The growth rate is 10 per cent per year and the value of exports represents 0.06 per cent of the global value.
It is estimated that the global organic farming products could reach U$104 billion, or Bt3.55 trillion, and enjoy a growth rate of 20 per cent per year. The main markets dominating the global organic farming market are the United States, Canada, Europe, China and Australia.
Juadee adds that organic produce remains the choice of a niche market which regards health as the main priority and says this is growing rapidly. Organic farming is a platform for agricultural sustainability and generates more income and thus raises the living standards of farmers.
To respond the global trend of healthcare and to elevate produce to organic standard and GAP (Good Agricultural Practice), DGTFarm.com categorises the products into three types. They are organic produce, which is planted in land free from chemical and toxins such as vegetables, fruits, rice and processed food. Group 2 comprises products certified by GAP like vegetables, fruits, rice, egg, processed food, livestock and fishery products, including banana soap from Kamphaengphet province. Finally, the products with QR Trace identifies the source through a QR code attached to the products and include rice, eggs, vegetables, fruits, processed food and herbal cosmetics from Ratchaburi province.
Currently 1,600 farmers who have attained organic and GMP standards are active on the online marketplace.