Dairy Farming Promotion Organization prioritises farm tourism

A girl feeds a cow at Thai-Danish Dairy Farm and Training Centre at Muak Lek district in Saraburi province. The farm welcomed 82,000 tourists in fiscal 2019.

The state-run Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand (DPO), the producer and marketer of Thai-Danish dairy products, wants to highlight farm tourism together with dairy products to create greater brand awareness.

Although income from tourism is small for the group at less than 1% of 10 billion baht in total revenue, DPO sees agro-tourism as vital.

"Our Thai-Danish Dairy Farm and Training Centre at Muak Lek district in Saraburi province not only strengthens dairy farming by adopting the sufficiency economy theory for modern dairy operations, but also provides knowledge for local farmers and tourists," said Narongrit Wongsuwan, director-general of DPO.

Visitors can experience farming life first-hand by milking a cow, feeding calves and making natural fertiliser from dairy products, he said.

The farm welcomed 82,000 tourists in fiscal 2019 (Oct 1-Sept 30), an increase of 30% year-on-year, with total income of 27.3 million baht. The farm accounts for 0.26% of DPO's revenue, estimated at 10.3 billion baht this fiscal year.

Visitors include students from schools and universities, state agencies, corporations and foreigners.

"As sustainable tourism has become a priority for Thai tourism, we want to develop more agro-tourism on our farm to help distribute income within local communities," said Mr Narongrit.

Farm tourism is a part of a five-year strategic plan for the national milk brand that ends in 2021.

To achieve the goal, DPO has expanded distribution channels by increasing the number of Milk Land retail outlets to sell Thai-Danish pasteurised dairy products and increase brand visibility.

Launched in 2018, Milk Land operates 60 shops in department stores and gas stations, of which three are self-owned: the Saraburi milk factory, the DPO office near Mittraphap Highway in Saraburi and Iconsiam mall in Bangkok. The rest are franchises in both Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

DPO plans to open 100 Milk Land shops this year and to have 200 total shops at both Thailand and overseas next year.

The agency also operates 15 branches of Milk Shop that offer pasteurised dairy products to students in schools and universities.

"Some 95% of our products are UHT dairy products and 5% are pasteurised dairy products. But Thais are more likely to embrace products that use pasteurised dairy products," Mr Narongrit said.

To produce a supply of around 700 tonnes a day of raw milk from farmers, he said DPO needs to develop at least two new products to expand product portfolios. In August, DPO introduced a pasteurised non-fat passion fruit-flavoured drinking yoghurt at Milk Land shops that will be available in convenience stores next month.