Organic rice gets trade boost
The Commerce Ministry has registered a domain for Thai farm and food products, TraceThai.com, with local organic rice chosen as the pilot product given its high value, strong market demand and export potential.
Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office under the Commerce Ministry, said the registration is part of an ongoing project of the office in supporting Thai farmers and Thai organic rice exporters.
A blockchain system will shorten the processing time for obtaining licences, facilitate trade and promote trust among foreign partners, she said.
According to Ms Pimchanok, the office picked organic rice as the pilot product because of its high value and export potential, as well as its well-established verification and standardisation processes.
The goal of the project is to provide systematic verification for buyers and importers in Thailand and abroad using the blockchain system because of its transparent, secure and trustworthy character, which will generate stronger trust and better responses to the demands of consumers.
The project will support trade facilitation in the digital era, increase efficiency of cross-border trade, reduce costs and elevate the whole value chain of Thai agriculture, Ms Pimchanok said.
"The office is confident that having a pilot blockchain traceability system for Thai food and farming will allow partner countries to keep track of Thai food and farming products with full trust," she said. "Blockchain technology is especially apt as the baseline of this traceability system, since it provides the highest degree of transparency while protecting trade secrets and information of farmers and stakeholders through its data-editing protection. Thus it creates stronger assurance in Thai food and agricultural goods, and the system can be further applied to other products in the future."
Participants in TraceThai.com's blockchain are required to provide certificates issued by organic standards certified bodies. The system does not issue certificates for farmers' land; it just distributes and shares certified information to other stakeholders in the system, including importers, who can all review the information at the same time.
This process should tremendously reduce processing time for all parties.
"The system is considered the government's first Thai traceability system for agricultural and food products," Ms Pimchanok said. "We have chosen highly valued organic rice as the pilot product, and we will be monitoring and evaluating the process to observe any difficulties or challenges regarding data input in the blockchain system."
In 2019, Thailand's global agricultural exports were worth 675.136 billion baht.