By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
FARM CHOKCHAI Group will form a profit-sharing deal with two Japanese partners
The company says the five-to-10 year partnership, will be a significant milestone for the expansion of its dairy products beyond Thailand into major markets in the region, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Choak Bulakul, group managing director and chief executive officer, said the move would also be a significant step towards diversifying its business portfolio from agricultural goods such as pasteurised milk to more value-added dairy products, such as cheese and yoghurt.
“Over the past 20 years, we have gradually converted ourselves from a farm business into other diversified products and services. They are farming; services, including tourism and accommodation, retail and restaurants; and property. They currently account for one-third each of our total revenue,” he said.
“We are strategically moving from basic agricultural goods towards more value-added products, which will give us more margin,” Choak said.
Under the partnership, Farm Chokchai will supply raw milk from its dairy farm, which is claimed as the best in Asean and of similar quality to milk produced in Hokkaido.
Meanwhile, the Hokkaido-based dairy company will apply its production know-how in the manufacturing of dairy products. The Japanese trading firm will be in charge of distributing those products through its wholesale network, especially to Japanese restaurants in Thailand.
The products in the near future will be also exported through their wholesale and retail networks in neighbouring markets in the region, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Choak said Farm Chokchai was currently able to produce about 20 tonnes of raw milk per day, of which 4-5 tonnes is pasteurised and sold at its Umm!..Milk shops. The group operates 25 Umm!..Milk shops in the Kingdom.
He said the poor economy had negatively affected its farm-tourism business this year, causing the number of visitors and tourist customers at its farm, located on 20,000 rai (3,200 hectares) in Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima, to drop by almost 30 per cent.
“We are looking to transform our farm-tourism activities to serve more corporate clients who want to bond with and educate their employees and customers with customer relationship management, especially on environmental-friendly activities. “Farm Chokchai has been awarded emissions-reduction certification and can be a role model for such educational tourism,” Choak said.