B1bn target for innovation
The Commerce Ministry has set its sights on boosting sales of innovative rice products to 1 billion baht next year after promoting more than 600 entrepreneurs to develop such goods this year.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said sales of innovative rice products supported by the department through the Institute for Agricultural Product Innovation (API) are estimated at more than 300 million baht this year.
Founded a few years ago at the request of the Rice Policy and Management Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, API is tasked with driving and promoting agricultural product innovation.
The API has teamed up with supermarkets and department stores to sell and promote innovative agricultural products.
The partnership covers largely ready-to-eat products, low-calorie rice, healthy processed coconut, organic rice milk, multigrain rice and dried fruits, as well as pet products such as dog shampoo and dog desserts.
The pact aims not only to enable farmers and entrepreneurs to raise their income, but also to let consumers buy higher-quality products.
Participating supermarkets and department stores include Gourmet Market, Cafe Amazon and Lemon Farm.
Products are also available at Central Food Retail and Ecotopia at Siam Discovery.
Mr Adul said the Foreign Trade Department has also promoted innovative Thai farm products to overseas markets at many international events such as Gulfood in Dubai, Cosmoprof in Hong Kong, and Food and Drink Expo in London.
"The department is committed to moving forward attempts to increase sales volume of innovative rice products to 1 billion baht next year," Mr Adul said. "The department plans to hold more activities such as business-matching events between Thai operators and those in neighbouring countries, as well as sales through the online platform."
He said the department is in talks with Macau's online platform operator to expand distribution of Thai innovative rice products to China.
The department also pledges to encourage famous hotels, restaurants and bakery houses to use innovative agricultural products as raw materials.
Mr Adul said the API will continue extending assistance to new entrepreneurs to produce and develop more innovative agricultural products.