Saraburi farmers to get lessons on smart farming to boost income
The Saraburi provincial administration is working with a business unit of the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry to develop a smart project to boost the income of farmers.
In a recent interview Noppadol Thamwiwat, research chief at the Saraburi City Development Co Ltd, said the so-called Saraburi Food Valley project is being developed by his company with support from the Program Management Unit on Area-Based Development (PMUA) and the provincial administration.
PMUA comes under the Office of the National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO).
The NXPO is an autonomous public agency affiliated with the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry.
Noppadol said the project is now in its initial stage before a concrete action plan can be drafted on what to do in the future.
When the action plan is ready, his company will select 30 stakeholders, including food-processing entrepreneurs and farmers keen to start using smart-farming techniques.
Noppadol said the next step will be finding a large, 5,000-rai plot to use as a production hub. This site should be linked to a modern transport network and be close to a water reserve.
The provincial administration will also reform and enact new laws to provide privileges for investors, Noppadol added.
He said the project is aimed at allowing Saraburi farmers to sell their farm products at fair prices after many farmers complained they could make no money from their products.
Saraburi was selected for the smart food valley project because Chulalongkorn University has a learning centre in Kaeng Khoi district, and will provide farming knowledge to farmers.
Noppadol said the Saraburi provincial administration made the project part of its development plan for the agriculture industry. The project is also supported by the Saraburi Chamber of Commerce, the provincial industrial council, the provincial bankers club and municipalities in Muang and Kaeng Khoi districts.
He added that Saraburi is suitable because it is a railway hub and farmers in the province grow a variety of products, including rice, corn, sugarcane, tapioca, vegetables and fruit, as well as dairy cows and chicken.
The products will be at the start of the food chain and become raw materials for the food-processing industry, he added.
The project will be run on an emissions-free system and will aim to draw Saraburi natives to return home, Noppadol said.