Thailand: Organic farming gets the spotlight
The Industrial Technological Assistance Program (ITAP), a unit of the National Science and Technology Development Agency, focused on the national development of organic farms, has been working with Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) and the Thai Organic Trade Association to develop and promote support for organic farming in Thailand.
According to Phongchai Jittamai, manager of the ITAP project, the aim, he says, is to have 30 organic farms nationwide within this year.
“We have seen small farm operators suffering here in Thailand for a long time, either from business losses or getting ill from overuse of chemicals and pesticides. They must turn to organic practices and this is what we are encouraging small farmers to do through agricultural co-operatives with up to 70% of the project's total cost financed by ITAP and the rest by the cooperatives,” he says.
Jittamai also explains how help is now on the way for organic farmers in that prices for organic farm produce are 30% higher than for conventional products, for which an increasing number of consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for healthier foods.
(By Joyce Rainat)
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