CP All programme grooms farm talent

CP All Plc joined with Kasetsart University to introduce an agriculture management programme at the Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM).

Dr Somphob Manarungsan (left), rector at Panyapiwat Institute of Management, signs a pact with Assoc Prof Vudhichai Kapilakarn, president of Kasetsart University, to cooperative on designing a farm management study programme.

Under the cooperation, the university will help PIM design a course of study aimed at supporting the growth of Thailand's agriculture sector, a strong base of Charoen Pokphand Group.

Starting next year, the four-year programme could bolster the role of PIM in education. The institute, founded in 2007, is recognised for developing talent to support the business of CP All, which runs 7-Eleven.

In general, a student who graduates from PIM will have a job with a CP All retail chain _ usually 7-Eleven, which had 6,300 Thai stores last year, half of them in Bangkok.

The programme marks the first time the public and private sector have come together to develop human resources supporting labour in the agriculture society, CP Group executives said.

The goal is to produce graduates well-grounded in agricultural knowledge, economics and management, said Somphob Manarungsan, an economist and rector at PIM.

The programme's work-based learning takes place wholly or predominantly in a work setting.

"The new generation of farm management needs skills and well-rounded people to keep pace with a changing world market," Dr Somphob said.

The study course is for young people who are interested in agriculture, said Montri Congtrakultien, CEO of the crop integration group at CP.

Graduates have a chance to work at Charoen Pokphand Foods, the flagship of CP.

Other agricultural companies, including sugar exporter Mitr Phol, have also expressed interest in the programme.

Though Thailand is a major exporter of a number of commodities, especially rice, sugar and meat, the country is challenged by a declining labour force, ageing farmers and young people with no interest in agriculture.

The study of farming management through innovation could attract these youths, Mr Montri said.

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Writer: Panas Deesitthivech