Thai Leaf taps US experts as Thailand eyes billion-dollar hemp market
Thai Leaf Biotechnology (Thai Leaf) has announced plans for hemp development and production aimed at making Thailand a regional leader in the hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) market.
Thai Leaf's CEO Yingyos Charubusapayon told a press conference on Tuesday that legalisation of hemp at the beginning of 2021 had piqued interest among investors and various industries, creating continuous new demand and supply.
Aiming to be a one-stop service for high-quality hemp products, Thai Leaf has joined hands with local property developer Origin, CannaPharma of Canada, Singapore’s Eralian Capital and Cornell University in the United States.
The partnerships would ensure the quality of the company's hemp products from seed strains to CBD oil, Yingyos said.
Thai Leaf is currently collaborating with Cornell University researchers to improve its own hemp strain as a unique variety that can only be grown in Thailand.
The Cornell researchers will also assist the company in extracting purified and high-quality CBD for pharmaceutical purposes, he said. The global CBD market was valued at US$5.18 billion (185.5 billion baht) last year.
Meanwhile, Thai Leaf plans to collaborate with local producers to create hemp-based products using their CBD extract. Drinks and beverages, supplements and cosmetics would be the primary product categories.
These consumer goods are due to launch early next year targeting total annual sales of 750 million baht. He added that Thai Leaf would wait until the government issues regulations on hemp before producing CBD pharmaceutical or medical products.
Thailand's hemp market is expected to grow by 7.2 billion baht this year, with Thai leaf accounting for a 10 per cent share, Yingyos said.
The company has a five-year business plan (2022-2026) aimed at driving Thailand to become a regional leader in CBD-infused hemp products and expanding to a global level thanks to high potential in various related fields. These include its ambition to become an Asean region medical hub generating enormous economic growth.
Chalerm Traill, Thai Leaf's president, said hemp has high economic value as components of the plant can be developed into a variety of products, including food, medicine, textiles and appliances. The global hemp-products market is expected to grow to $18.6 billion by 2027.