The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) has denied rumours it tried to sell the Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation of Thailand (DPO), a state enterprise under the ministry, to a company as claimed by a labour union.
Deputy Minister Mananya Thaiset said a recent meeting with all stakeholders, including the DPO and members of its union, was told the DPO would allow a company from Australia to use its trademark only for infant milk powder products.
"It is impossible to sell the DPO brand, Thai-Danish Dairy Farm, because it is against DPO's objectives to improve and develop local dairy farms and help farmers," she said.
She said it is an issue of benefit-sharing and technology transfer because the country does not have a plant to produce baby milk powder, which requires advanced technology. However, she said the Office of the Attorney General is examining DPO's proposal.
Mr Somporn Srimueng, director of DPO, said the organisation has studied the possibility of importing milk powder from an Australian company under its trademark since 2011. DPO had explained the project to the board in August.
He said the project is included in the business plan as it was likely to make a profit, adding that the baby milk powder market is different from the DPO's current dairy products so farmers will not be affected.
He said the project came about because local milk quality does not meet the requirement for producing infant milk powder.
Also, if the DPO wanted to set up a plant for producing baby milk powder, the investment cost could reach 2.4 billion baht and foreign experts would be needed to run it, he said.
"We have discussed with the company in Australia importing baby milk powder under the Thai-Denmark trademark many times. If the project starts, the company must pay at least 30 million baht per year to the DPO, or more depending on net revenue," he said.
"The company must also provide technology transfer, including farming techniques to get premium quality fresh milk. We will not invest any money in the project and we can also terminate the contract any time if it fails to meet our requirements," he said.