Development of Thai hemp industry can be expedited and thriving
Top int'l expert group is here to make Thailand a leading regional player in the field
Thailand has all it takes to evolve into Asia's leading hemp centre to tap into the US$15.8 billion in global hemp-related businesses estimated over the next five years.
At least five nascent supply chains are being spurred by the hemp and cannabis legalisation in Thailand, namely, beverages, food, medicines and supplements, apparel, and personal care products.
The plant also presents the kingdom with a significant opportunity to add new impetus to its medical tourism drive, with foreigners and locals seeking out affordable, hemp-cannabis related healthcare treatments.
But the route to realise the full potential remains bumpy as the country still face hurdles including the needs to developing new strains of hemp that better meet market demands and overcoming challenges surrounding the legality of some business activities.
The ultimate challenge for Thailand to put its hemp-related industries to the global scale is to earn an international global recognition of the entire product development process that must be based on scientific principles, research and development by means of prioritising safety and effectiveness.
For that reason, the Global Hemp Innovation Collaboration Centre has been established in Thailand to help guiding the country towards achieving that aspiration.
More specifically, the centre's mission is to bring science-based know how and experience from abroad to spur short-cut and fast-track development in Thailand, explained Dr. Aimon Kopera, founder and CEO of the US-based Geneomics Global.
The Thai scientist has teamed up world’s leading researchers in the field to incubate Thai entrepreneurs and their products to gain excellence, and ultimately establishing Thailand as Asia’s hemp and cannabis hub.
"Geneomics Global provides end-to-end solutions by collaborating with local and global partners," she noted.
The centre, located in Chiang Mai and operating under the name Geneomics Global Co Ltd, is the first facility of its kind in Thailand to offer vertical integration on the hemp-cannabis ecosystem.
It is the first Geneomics centre outside the US where there are three sites in Oregon, Hawaii and California.
The Thai centre will be able to research and develop formulations for a diverse range of products, including food and beverages, dietary supplements, hemp fibre-based materials, and even animal feed.
Dr. Aimon, pronounced Aim On, said once Thailand has gained global recognition, its four hemp-cannabis-related industries combined, namely agriculture and food, energy and bio-chemicals, medicine and health, and tourism, would be able to contribute 21% of its GDP and creating more than 16.5 million jobs, citing projections from the National Food Institute, Ministry of Industry.
When compared with countries with a well-developed hemp industry, Thailand has been slow to the game given its high quality natural hemp.
"It is imperative for all parties concerned in Thailand to focus on using science-based knowledge for development," she said, noting that the country has had fundamentals required to catapult to become Asia’s prime hemp and cannabis centre.
Dr. Aimon called on leaders in Thailand to provide supports to the endeavour.
She recently led a team of world-class hemp and cannabis experts to the Cannabis International Conference 2022 Thailand to drive home the country's ability to expedite its industry to regional importance.
The team has also conducted field research at sites in Northern, North-Eastern, Eastern and Central parts recently.
At the forum, the team exchanged knowledge and experience with partners in the government and private sectors to drive Thailand’s national hemp and cannabis strategies.
It also announced the success of research projects conducted in collaboration with four hemp and cannabis experts from various fields.
Prof. Dr. Jay Noller, a hemp- cannabis expert from the Oregon State University who is a team member, also revealed that studies have found compounds from hemp can work against coronavirus.
At a meeting with officials of Thailand's Ministry of Public Health, he noted that he pointed out three opportunities related to hemp for Thailand.
First, Thailand can be the first country to pioneer integrated hemp-cannabis production.
Secondly, Thailand can leverage hemp-cannabis for its medical tourism.
Third, the country can produce hemp-cannabis effectively to increase trade opportunities.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gerard Rosse, an expert of cannabinoid extraction and purification, stated that the herbal medicine, which is popular among many Thai people, provides a basis for Geneomics Global to enhance the potential of hemp and cannabis as a source of herbal treatment.
"I believe that the use of technology, the right knowledge and knowledge of Thai herbal application will surely make Thailand a leader in this regard," he added.
Dr. Billy Morrison, an expert on cultivation and product development technology, said he found that Thai people are very creative, able to learn to use technology quickly and making adjustments to fit the context that occurs in different situations.
"Therefore, we are confident that we will be able to make Thailand a leader for sure,'' he concluded.