THE CASSAVA Management and Policy Committee has introduced new strategies for developing Thailand as the leading Asean cassava producer using innovation and technology.
The strategy will be implemented from 2017-2026.
After chairing a meeting of the committee, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the vision for developing Thailand’s cassava industry with innovation and technology development would add value to cassava products, and result in Thailand relying less on cassava exports, chiefly to China.
“The 10-year strategy will ensure a balanced supply of and demand for cassava for the long term, while continuing to emphasise Thailand as the centre of cassava production and trading with innovation and value added for the product,” she said.
Various strategies covering production, processing and marketing will be implemented during the 10-year period.
The first strategy is to manage a cassava-growing area of 8.5 million rai (1.36 million hectares) and set up zoning for the most efficient production and quality.
Yield per rai is expected to increase from less than 5 tonnes currently to 7 tonnes in 2026, while it is hoped the cost of production will be cut by 10 per cent.
It is also expected that demand for cassava in many industries will be increased, mainly in the glue, paper, textile, sweetener, and pharmaceutical sectors.
The new standard for cassava trading is expected to be set up within five years. The government will also set up a database to link information in the cassava industry from upstream to downstream.
Under this strategy, the export value of cassava products is expected to be at least Bt150 billion as of 2026, from an estimated Bt120 billion in 2019.
Apiradi said the government would also support the production of cassava on a commercial scale by promoting integrated farms so that farmers would have lower production costs.
The government will encourage farmers to adopt technology such as solar systems and water-dropping methods to grow cassava. It will also provide soft loans to help farmers invest in new technology.
The government will also support soft loans for farmer cooperatives for cassava processing. Industries related to cassava processing using alternative energy and zero-waste production will be promoted.
Research on new products from cassava will be supported, such as in bio-plastic production and other food industries. The government will also amend regulations to facilitate innovation and research for the industry.
For marketing, the government will support the promotion of cassava trading by farmer institutes and enterprises, and the setting up of training for farmers and enterprises. Farmers will also be encouraged to trade online, while the government will help increase marketing channels through free-trade areas.