Kora targets 200,000 rai of organic rice farms

Kora targets 200,000 rai of organic rice farms

Ms Kornchawan, second from right, and Yongyut Srinuan, head of export and product development for Roi Et Provincial Agriculture Office, give a demonstration.
Ms Kornchawan, second from right, and Yongyut Srinuan, head of export and product development for Roi Et Provincial Agriculture Office, give a demonstration.

Kora Enterprise Plc is working with Isan farmers to build the market for organic rice and expand organic jasmine rice plantations from 50,000 rai to 200,000 rai within five years.

The company owns just 500 rai but works with farmers to increase plantation of organic and aromatic rice in five provinces: Roi Et, Surin, Maha Sarakham, Sri Sa Ket and Yasothon.

Kornchawan Somphakdee, chief executive of Kora, said the region is one of the best in the world to grow jasmine rice. But farmers there are still poor because of low prices over the past 30 years despite strong global demand.

"The company has a vision to be a leader in research and innovation to produce, process and distribute high-quality rice products and herb-based products," she said. "This reflects the sustainable farming method that is rooted in the farming tradition and culture here."

Ms Kornchawan said the company will invest in research on rice and herbs and promote organic rice distribution along with other products for the domestic and international markets.

The company distributes to Tops Market, The Mall, 7-Eleven stores and supermarkets countrywide, as well as foreign partners such as those in China.

For the second phase (2020-22), Kora plans to produce and process all rice strains as well as increase the variety of rice processing forms to meet the demand of wholesale and retailers.

For the long term, the company's organic products must meet international organic standards over the next five years, which are currently under evaluation.

The certification will add 30% value to the products in the domestic market and 50-100% overseas.

Moreover, the company plans to achieve "zero waste" during the processing step, where all unwanted parts of rice will be made into other products. For example, broken milled rice and rice germ that are full of nutrients are a significant ingredient in rice crackers and breakfast cereals.

"Our strategy aligns with the healthy living, and Thai rice can add value through research," Ms Kornchawan said. "We believe our strategy can improve farmers' living conditions in a sustainable way."


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