Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Making world-famous rice from Thailand even more successful
In so many ways, rice is essential for the people in Thailand – especially for the farmers. Together with local and international partners, Bayer safeguards the sustainable production of high-quality, internationally certified rice.
Rice is one of the most important staple foods in Thailand – and the Southeast Asian country is also the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, having exported a record 11.48 million tons in 2017. Jasmine rice is among the most popular types of rice around the globe. In Thailand, it is grown in the Thung Kula Ronghai region – which extends across five northeastern provinces: Roi Et, Maha Sarakham, Surin, Si Sa Ket, and Yasothon – and is known worldwide as Hom Mali rice.
For some time now, Bayer has been actively improving agricultural production and rice value chains, for example in Ubon Ratchathani Province, where increases in yield (from 370 kg/rai to 450–480 kg/rai) and average income (by 1,230 baht/rai) as well as Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) certification have been achieved. “Managing residue levels has been an important topic in that regard, but also sustainable farming practices, adherence to labor and safety standards as well as implementing traceability measures,” said Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, Country Group Head for Southeast Asia at Bayer.
BayG.A.P. training session in Thailand.
Certification resulted in increased income for farmers
In 2013, Hom Mali rice from Thung Kula Ronghai was awarded the European Union’s Geographical Indication (GI) certification. This has positively affected rice exports – and considerably benefited Thai farmers. “Quality is a defining factor when it comes to goods with geographic indication,” said Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch. “Almost more important than the initial launch, however, is maintaining this high standard.”
In Suwannaphum District and Kaset Wisai District in Roi Et Province, Bayer has been working closely with the Thailand Rice Department and Srisangdaw Rice Mill Company. Together they organized training courses for 120 rice farmers to support them on their journey toward improved crop quality and quantity. Now that the farmers’ rice has been localg.a.p. certified and GI recognized, Srisangdaw Mill can trade rice at a slight premium above regular market price – and share these profits with the farmers.
What’s more, on June 6–8, Bayer and Kasetsart Universtiy organized a BayG.A.P. training course for 50 government officials from Roi Et Province, instructing them in good agricultural practices. These officials, in turn, will now pass their knowledge on to about 5,000 rice farmers, cultivating 13,000 hectares of land for GI rice.
Highlighting collaboration at National Rice and Farmers’ Day in Bangkok
At this year’s National Rice and Farmers’ Day (June 5-9), Bayer Thailand showcased how Food Chain Partnership and the BayG.A.P. Service Program have been contributing to making agriculture – especially rice growing – in Thailand more sustainable and profitable. “By offering access to technology and innovations and organizing training courses, we also improve the livelihoods of the farmers,” said Nongnuch Yokyongsakul, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Bayer in Thailand.
Krisada Boonrach, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and Anan Suwannarat, Director General of the Thailand Rice Department, visited the Bayer booth at the National Rice and Farmers’ Day in Bangkok to further strengthen the joint vision of high-quality and sustainable rice production. “We at Bayer understand the needs of a global supply chain and are committed to quality,” said Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch. “Together with our partners here in Thailand, we’ll make sure that high-quality rice from Thailand continues to be a global benchmark – and that the Thai farmers benefit from that.”
From left to right: Dr. Chainarong (Kasetsart University), Mr. Sinsamut (Srisangdaw Rice Mill), Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch (Bayer), Krisada Boonrach (Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives), and Anan Suwannarat (Director General of Thailand’s Rice Department) at the Bayer booth in Bangkok.