Potato growers in Thailand face many challenges. The government and industry in Thailand are working together to advance sustainable potato farming and help farmers market their produce both domestically and internationally. BayG.A.P. plays an important role in that.
The moody weather in Thailand makes potato growing a challenge
Potato growing is a challenge in subtropical Thailand. Particularly in the mountainous north, the main cultivation area for potatoes, the weather changes from muggy to cool, and fungal diseases are very persistent. To tackle this challenge, the Thai government has begun efforts to introduce Good Agricultural Practices (G.A.P.) in 2003. Nevertheless, it remains difficult for the predominantly smallholder farmers to maintain the required quality of output and guarantee operator and environmental safety at the same time. That is one reason why the government has introduced its “Thailand 4.0” policy, which aims at enabling an innovation-based economy that grows in a sustainable way. What exactly does this mean for farmers and how can they align with the government’s new policy? Bayer Thailand invited potato experts to answer this question and shine a light on the importance of certification schemes for Thai farmers.
The goal is set
“To reach the 4.0 goal for potato growing and overcome common challenges, farm management needs to be standardized,” says Nongnuch Yokyongsakul, Bayer’s Regulatory Affairs Manager in Thailand and host of the event. Her guests included scientific and political representatives for national agriculture as well as agronomy managers of PepsiCo, Thailand Trading Co. Ltd., and Berli Jucker Public Company Limited. Their companies are already promoting sustainable potato growing within their supplier base.
The experts agreed that the BayG.A.P. Service Program is the perfect platform to train smallholder farmers and help them obtain the certificates necessary for succeeding in domestic and international markets and that it is the basis for the sustainable production of high-quality potatoes. “The potato industry is rapidly growing here in Thailand, but we need to build and maintain strong relationships in order to make this development sustainable,” says Nongnuch Yokyongsakul. Supported by the Thai government, 4,500 farms are part of BayG.A.P. – and this year alone, 800 farmers are going to be trained in good agricultural practices.
Working together for an inclusive economy
The experts also talked about how training courses in good agricultural practices are going to reduce the cost of cultivation and minimize the use of crop protection products. In fact, it is the aim of Bayer and its BayG.A.P. program to promote sustainable agriculture and support farmers in growing healthy and safe food – and in being profitable. “They produce not only for the national market,” said Darupan Sansiripan, Senior Agricultural Extension Manager of Berli Jucker Public Company Limited, the second largest potato producer in Thailand. “Exports to other Asian countries such as the Philippines, which strongly focus on traceability, are important pillars. BayG.A.P. helps Thai farmers to comply with international standards, enabling them to access these markets.”
BayG.A.P. supports farmers in the sustainable production of high-quality potatoes