Somkid speaks to Hokkaido investors
Push for agricultural processing and tourism involvement
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has called on Hokkaido investors to focus on agricultural processing and tourism in Thailand.
Speaking yesterday to representatives from 30 companies in Hokkaido at an event hosted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), Mr Somkid said the government aims to forge investment ties with every prefecture in Japan.
The government wants to build investments with Hokkaido in agricultural processing and tourism.
"Hokkaido is well-suited to Thailand for a joint venture in the agriculture and agri-tourism industries," Mr Somkid said.
The government is developing community-based tourism in part to reduce poverty, he said.
According to Mr Somkid, the government has set aside 10 billion baht in a competitiveness fund to support investors, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, that want to invest in the tourism and food industries.
He told investors that the Board of Investment (BoI) is ready to design investment packages to suit Japanese needs.
Thailand's agriculture sector is made up of 30 million people, most of them low-income earners. The government is promoting smart farming and community tourism in rural areas.
Mr Somkid said the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has been assigned to work with the BoI, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and Jetro to support and develop community businesses.
The BAAC has been ordered to lead potential agricultural cooperatives and smart farmers to visit Hokkaido and observe community enterprise development there.
Ryu Shibata, vice-chairman of the Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Hokkaido has successfully enmeshed food and tourism, noting that Hokkaido is home to the largest farmlands in Japan.
Among the representatives meeting Mr Somkid were officials of five companies that have already invested in Thailand.
Hokkaido companies that have invested in Thailand are mostly smaller in size, including Lilac spa and hair salon; HBA Corporation Co, the provider of IT consulting, software development, information processing service, hardware sales and maintenance, data centre service, and cloud service; and Hokkaido Wine.
Duangjai Asawajintajit, secretary-general of the BoI, said the board has designed a new category for smart farming services that is appropriate for investors who want to apply technology in the agriculture sector and support community enterprises.
There are 9,000-10,000 companies that have won BoI privileges for farm product processing.