Organic farming gets boost
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been given a budget allocation of 851 million baht to promote organic food products this year.
Chantanon Wannakejohn, the ministry's spokesman and secretary-general of the Office of Agricultural Economics, said the money will go to support 94 projects related to organic food products.
A total of 176.8 million baht will be set aside for 48 projects involving research and development, innovation, database development and knowledge transfer to farmers.
Another 552 million baht will be earmarked for 21 projects aimed at developing organic food production and organic farming management, while 122.2 million baht will go to 25 projects to improve marketing, services and organic farming standards, he said.
Mr Chantanon said that during the past five years, some 342 projects have been rolled out to develop organic farming. Last year, about 1.51 million rai of land belonging to both the state and the private sector was dedicated to organic farming, involving a total of 95,752 farmers.
He said the volume of organic food exports has expanded by 31.5% a year and the value of organic exports has increased by 44.4% a year, with the US, Hong Kong, Italy and Vietnam as major markets for Thailand's organic produce.
Between January and November last year, Thailand's organic food exports were valued at 1.23 billion baht.
Organic rice accounted for 878.64 million baht while other organic products such as fresh fruit and frozen fruit products were worth 360.3 million baht, he said.