Organic agriculture in Thailand has expanded considerably in the last eight years; more and more farmers are switching from conventional to organic methods. Now (as at 2010) more than 34,000 hectares are farmed organically by over 7,000 farmers.
There is state support for their efforts: the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), a department of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture, is looking for ways to promote organic agriculture in Thailand and stimulate international demand for the country’s organic products. “Organic agriculture is right at the top of our list of national priorities. We don’t just want to promote domestic sales of organic products; our principal goal is to obtain access to international markets,” says Dr. Sanayh Kraokaw, the ACFS officer with responsibility for organic agriculture.
Since 2008 ACFS has been working with FiBL and numerous Thai partners from the public and private sectors to optimize Thailand’s farming methods, apply appropriate certification standards and improve the position of Thailand’s organic products on the international market. “FiBL is internationally known and a pioneer of organic agriculture. We greatly value their cooperation and have already urged other Asian countries to work with them too,” explains Dr. Sorapol Therapathana, executive director of ACFS, as he describes the strategic partnership.
A group from ACFS and the private sector has now travelled to Switzerland. The aim of the week-long visit was to extend know-how of biological fertilizers and plant protection methods and demonstrate best practice in Switzerland. “We want to get as detailed an overview as we can, so that we can learn from the experience of the Swiss,” is how Dr. Kraokaw describes members’ expectations of the study trip, which was organized by Lukas Kilcher, head of the Communication Division at FiBL.
Another planned milestone is the expansion of a laboratory for the breeding and release of beneficial organisms. In addition, the family business Poothon Agriculture Industrial is aiming to overhaul the production of biological fertilizers.
organic-world.net: Dynamic data table with key data from the FiBL-IFOAM survey