August 07, 2014 01:00 By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
The Commerce Ministry wants Thailand to become the Asean centre for organic products and services by 2020.
To support the plan, it will propose to the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order that it provide tax privileges to support expansion of the organic industry.
Malee Choklumlerd, inspector-general of the ministry, said it had five strategies to support the growth of this industry between now and 2020.
The five strategies are tax privileges for organic traders and farmers; consideration of a fund to support organic farmers; enhancing consumers’ knowledge and recognition of organic products; providing clear information about the trade of organic products both domestically and overseas; and finding new markets and distribution opportunities for Thai organic products and services.
Malee said organic production should get some support or privileges so that farmers and traders will not hesitate to jump into organic businesses.
Currently, organic cultivation and trading face high costs. Initially, the farming environment including soil needs to be prepared for organic cultivation.
Next, traders need to conduct activities to raise consumers’ awareness of organic foods and other goods.
However, Malee said consumers worldwide nowadays were more conscious of the benefits of chemical-free foods, products and services, so there should be a bright future for this industry.
Organic foods are only part of this industry. There are non-food products as well, and services such as hotels, spas and restaurants. All of these are seeing rising demand globally, she said.
According to the ministry, export of organic products is worth about Bt3 billion a year. It targets annual export growth in this sector of at least 10 per cent.