Apart from being one of the major exporters of rice in the world, Thailand’s other agricultural commodities include sugar, fish, canned tuna, pineapples, rubber, gr, in and frozen shrimps. Currently, almost 40% of its people work in the agriculture division, but the agriculture sector accounts only for 8-10% of Thailand’s GDP. This disproportion shows the urgent need for improvements.
Most of the local farmers are used to traditional farming methods for hundreds of years. These methods have been poorly developed and only little by little they adopted into a more innovated way using machinery for more productivity. The current non-smart system can’t feed Thailand in the future.
Agribusiness firms, both local and foreign, play an important role in Thailand’s development in the agricultural sector. Because of the better resources of technology, funds, and knowledge than the farmers and other groups in the industry, they become the innovators and pioneers in the business.
Smart agriculture, smart farmers, superfood
During the last years, Thailand has been focusing on strengthening its economy with research and development, creativity, innovation, and investment programs. Thailand 4.0 is the latest development model that the government aims to give way to pull them out of the middle-income trap.
One of the focusses of Thailand 4.0 is the agriculture sector to promote and strengthen its abundant resources both for local and international use. Agriculture 4.0 aims to increase yield per rai by reducing inefficiencies, water consumption, fertilizers insecticides, and other chemicals and harmful effects on soil, animals, and people. Thailand is the kitchen of the world.
The government is seeking more ways to improve and give way to foreign investors to make Thailand 4.0 and Agriculture 4.0 more feasible. Multi-stakeholder partnership projects and investment programs that will bring together the non-government organizations, companies, the government, universities, and farmers shall be the way for technological transformation that will also provide access to shared information, technology, finances, and markets. This kind of project will play an important role in transforming Thailand’s agricultural progress.
Examples for agriculture 4.0 are riceberry and other superfoods. While Thai people prefer polished white rice, Thai black jasmine rice (Rice berry) with a deep purple color as well as other organic food innovations will lose soon their character as niche varieties. Lower input costs for fertilizers will give superfood a sustainable advantage, although higher labor costs are not immediately balanced by a higher market price.