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Food industry: Adding value to farmer's crops

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Chiang Mai vegetables & fruits, Nakhon Ratchasima meat production, Prachuap Khiri Khan fish & pineapples and coconuts. 

Scientist at work in laboratory.


Innovate to survive, Thais told


Thailand needs to focus more on value-added food products to cope with stiffer competition once the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is established in the next few years, an international expert says.

Roger van Hoesel, managing director of the Netherlands-based Food Valley, said the AEC provides an opportune moment for Thailand to innovate as it can no longer compete on low wages.

More value-added products are needed to serve the upper market in order to compete against similar but cheaper products from neighbouring countries. This could be achieved by developing packaging, expanding shelf life, increasing health benefits and with sustainability, he said.

"I haven't heard much about sustainability here. In the Netherlands if you don't do anything to making carbon footprints lower, you're out of the market in a few years. The market will demand it from you," said Mr van Hoesel at a seminar hosted by the Industrial Promotion Department (DIP) and Chulalongkorn University.

Manop Kaewkoi, chief executive of Nature Food, said Thailand's rice market needs to focus on quality and added value on top of sales volume.

"Organic farming is not an alternative but the solution to the country's crisis," said the manufacturer of organic""" rice, which was one of 10 products showcased on the sidelines of the seminar.

Mr van Hoesel said Thailand's food industry has competitive advantages in terms of quality and research and development while the country's vision to develop "Food Valley" will give a significant boost to innovation, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

It took two years for the Netherlands' Food Valley NL to be set up in 2004, where 60-65% of businesses are SMEs.

Food Valley NL currently consists of 21 research centres. The Food Valley Society involves over 70 agro-food and food-related businesses such as Kikkoman, Heinz and several others operating more than 235 factories.

The Netherlands, well-known for its bread, milk and meat, is the world's second-biggest exporter of agro-food products. The agro-food sector accounts for 10% of the country's gross national product.

The Thai department has targeted three provinces to launch its Food Valley initiative. Chiang Mai in the North is to be the centre for vegetables and processed fruits, Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast will focus on meat production, while Prachuap Khiri Khan in the South will be the hub for fisheries products as well as pineapples and coconuts.

The project is an attempt to establish a network of food producers and agriculture operators in clusters to boost productivity.

Through a public-private partnership, the government plays a role in developing infrastructure, logistics, finance, and research and development.

Nanchanok Wongsamuth

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achieve: to succeed in doing something very good or difficult - บรรลุผลสำเร็จ

advantage: a condition giving a greater chance of success - ความได้เปรียบ

agriculture: the science or practice of farming - เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร

agro: a prefix referring to agriculture - เกี่ยกวับเกษตรกรรม

alternative: something that is different from something else, especially from what is usual, and offering the possibility of choice - ทางเลือก

Asean Economic Community: AEC, the ASEAN organization for economic cooperation between countries in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, Laos), includes lowering of tariffs and taxes on goods shipped between countries and free labour mobility for skilled workers -

attempt: when a person tries to do something or achieve some goal, makes an effort to do it - ความพยายาม

based: living or working in a particular placed; located in a particular place - อาศัย

benefit: an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help - ผลประโยชน์, ข้อได้เปรียบ, ผลดี

boost: to increase - เพิ่ม

carbon footprint: the total amount of environmentally damaging greenhouse gases created by a person, company or organization in their daily activities, the goal is to make as low as possible -

cluster: group of people, animals or things close together - กลุ่ม

compete: to try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - แข่งขัน

competition: a situation in which people or organizations compete, i.e., try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - การแข่งขัน

competitive: involving competition - มีการแข่งขัน

consist: to be made of or formed from something - ประกอบด้วย

cope with: to deal successfully with a difficult situation or job - จัดการกับปัญหา แก้ปัญหา

currently: at this time; now - ในปัจจุบัน

demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง

develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

developmental: connected with the development of somebody/something in order to become more advanced, stronger, etc. - เกี่ยวกัการพัฒนาการ, เกี่ยวกัการเจริญเติบโต

establish: to start a company or organization that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง

expand: to make or become larger - ขยาย เพิ่ม

expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

finance: to provide money for something - จัดหาเงินทุนให้

fishery: an area of water where fish are caught so they can be sold - พื้นที่ในการจับปลา

focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ

hub: the central or main part of something where there is most activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง

infrastructure: a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค

initiative: a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem - ความคิดริเริ่ม

innovate: to create or invent new ideas, products, methods or equipment - อินนะเวท, ทำให้เกิดการเปลี่ยนแปลง, เปลี่ยนแปลงใหม่, ปรับปรุงใหม่, ปรับปรุง, นำสิ่งใหม่เข้ามา, ทำไม่ซ้ำแบบใคร

international: connected with or involving two or more countries - นานาชาติ, สากล, ระหว่างประเทศ

logistics: the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organise something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment - การส่งกำลังบำรุง

neighbouring: located or living near or next to a place or person - ติดกัน, ที่อยู่ใกล้เคียง, ที่ตั้งอยู่ใกล้เคียง

operating: carrying out an activity - ดำเนินการ

opportune moment: a good time to do something -

packaging: materials used to wrap or protect goods that are sold in shops/stores - วัสดุที่ใช่ห่อหุ้มหรือป้องกันสินค้า

play a role: to carry out a particular function or duty - มีบทบาท

processed: treated in some way, e.g., treated with chemicals, cut, etc. -

production: the process of making goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต

public-private partnership: a project financed and operated through a partnership of government and private sector companies, a contract in which the company provides a public service or project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project, also called PPP, P3 or P3 (Source: Wikipedia) -

quality: the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ

research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย

set up: to create something or start it - ตั้งขึ้น

significant: large or important enough to have an effect or to be noticed - ซึ่งมีความหมาย

social network: websites or other services on the internet for communication with people who share your interests - เครือข่ายสังคม

stiff: strong - แข็งแรง,รุนแรง

survive: to continue to exist - รอดพ้น

sustainability: can continue doing activity for a long time - ย่างยั่งยืน

target: something you want to achieve; a particular number or amount that you want to achieve - เป้าหมาย

value added: the value that is added by one company to a product during one stage of production - ค่าเพิ่ม

volume: an amount of something - ปริมาณ

wage: an amount of money that you earn for working, usually according to how many hours or days you work each week or month - ค่าจ้าง

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