This page features a compilation and selection of Thai seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the Kingdom of Thailand.
The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.
This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.
Chia Tai Field Day 2023: February 7: Taking place at Chiang Mai Research Station in Hang Dong District of Chiang Mai, Chia Tai Seed hosted the "Chia Tai Field Day 2023" to highlight the company's plant breeding innovation and present high-quality seeds. To ensure food security and advance towards sustainable agriculture, Chia Tai has researched and produced a variety of plant varieties with greater productivity and disease resistance. Mr. Supat Mekiyanon, Assistant Vice President, Seed Business of Chia Tai Company Limited, discussed their vision and dedication to plant breeding. Chia Tai has 9 local and international research and development stations, the latest being Manu Chiaravanond Building in Kanchanaburi Province. The event will showcase a range of plant varieties, including the Black Bomb 006 watermelon - the first oblong watermelon with black skin bred by Chia Tai. Read original story here
Thailand Issues New GM Foods Regulations: February 2: Thailand recently issued two Ministerial Notifications, No. 431 and No. 432, to regulate GMOs and associated food products. GMO products are divided into three groups: 1) Edited/trimmed/altered genetics for human consumption; 2) Food using Group 1 as ingredients; 3) Products from Group 1 used as food additives or nutrients. Labeling is mandatory for foods with detectable GMOs and recombinant protein from biotechnology stating that the product contains GMOs, and products with intentional GM plants or animals must also be labeled. Full details can be found in USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report
Thailand green lights authorization of third-party seed health labs: Thailand's Department of Agriculture has issued a notification dated November 11, 2022, concerning new regulations on the application and issuance of phytosanitary certificates and phytosanitary certificates for re-export. The notification updates previous regulations to allow for the application of phytosanitary certificates by electronic submission to the Export Plant Quarantine Service Group, Plant Quarantine Station, Agricultural Regulatory Division or an agency assigned by the Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, plant pest test or control can be carried out by a lab that is accredited by the Department of Agriculture. The notification goes on to detail the criteria, such as required personnel, laboratory conditions and equipment, plant testing methods, and reporting procedures as well as the application and assessment procedures for lab accreditation. Download unofficial translation here.
Thailand ePhyto exchange system online with ASEAN and China: July 1: Exporters of seeds and other agricultural products and produce from Thailand are now eligible to apply for electronic phytosanitary (ePhyto) certificates online. The required certificates relay to importing countries that the concerned plants or plant products are free from certain pests, and comply with international plant protection regulations. From February 1 of this year Thailand’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) launched the ePhyto system, starting with the processing of pilot online applications service for an initial 22 key commodities for export to China. In May, the project gained steam during an event to officially introduce the ePhyto system, which was attended by reps from the Thai Customs Department, the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS), the National Telecom Public Company Limited, officers form National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) of trading partner countries and private sector representatives. According to Mr. Chaisak Ringluen (Senior Agricultural Research Specialist, Agricultural Regulatory Office at the Department of Agriculture, Thailand), Thailand and Indonesia have succeeded in end-to-end testing of ePhyto certificate exchanges, and have commenced with e-Phyto Certificate Live Operation from October 3, 2022. During a presentation at the 2022 Asian Seed Congress in November, Mr. Chaisak explained that electronic data of the phytosanitary certificate is sent from Thailand’s National Single Window (NSW) to the NPPO system of destination countries via ASEAN Single Window Gateway (ASW Gateway) for exchange with ASEAN member countries. For countries outside ASEAN region, this exchange will be facilitated directly between Thailand’s NSW and the IPPC ePhyto hub. Mr. Chaisak confirmed that Thailand is ready to commence facilitation of ePhyto exchange through both the ASW and IPPC hub. The ePhyto Solution is expected reduce or eradicate the risk of erroneous, lost, or damaged documents, which can cause delays leading to damaged or spoiled produce, and complements the Thai government’s 4.0 digitalization strategy.
New regulation for cannabis flowers in force: A new decree that went into effect on November 12, 2022, from Thailand's Ministry of Health tightened rules concerning the growing and sale of cannabis. The new decree, which was published in the Official Gazette, replaces the original June 16 announcement to legalize cannabis.
The new regulations classify cannabis flower buds as a controlled herb. Permission must be obtained before commercial use. The exporting, processing and researching of cannabis also requires a license. The new decree strengthens previous regulations, including banning the sale of cannabis to pregnant or breastfeeding women, women under the age of 20, and students. However, the places where it can be sold and consumed (i.e. smoked) are also restricted.
Currently, smoking cannabis in the premises of business is strictly prohibited, as is promoting cannabis for commercial purposes. Marijuana must not be sold at the store for consumption at the store. The only exception is for medical purposes, which must be sold and administered by a physician or traditional Thai medicine practitioner.
The amendment was made due to concerns regarding the inappropriate consumption of cannabis, particularly among the young. Read the new decree in Thai here
Cannabis food operators, handlers to be schooled: August 26: The Royal Gazette on August 25 published an announcement mandating new training requirements for food operators and handlers of food products with cannabis ingredients. The announcement, signed August 3 by the Director-General of the Department of Health (Ministry of Public Health) Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai denotes training curricula for both cannabis food operators and handlers, citing previously mandated criteria from the Public Health Ministery (2018) for all food operators and handlers to undergo food safety training. According to the notification, food distributors who use ingredients from cannabis or hemp in their products need to complete a 30 minute course on the “suitable” use and handling of cannabis or hemp ingredients in cooking, and also covers aspects of nutrition, rules and respective penalties for “unsuitable” use. Source. The move follows Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek on July 17 announcing new measures the government will impose on concerned producers and retailers to “mitigate potential dangers from consumption of food with cannabis or hemp ingredients”. The measures emphasize labeling requirements, including the denoting of FDA supervision covering consumption guidance and rules for use covering daily consumption limits, warnings for potential adverse affects of THC and CBD and prohibiting use by children, minors (under age 20) as well as pregnant and nursing women. Source.
Chia Tai launches ‘FarmInno’ ag solution platform: July 29: Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company, launches a new business for agricultural solutions under "FarmInno (Thailand)" brand, paving its way towards becoming a leading agricultural solution provider, while also partnering with major agricultural technology companies to present a wide variety of innovations, including drones for smart farming, smart greenhouses, and agricultural community platform. In addition, the effort includes the development of an all-in-one knowledge and agricultural community platform, with gurus recommending cultivation information, products, and agricultural services. Source
Thai rice exporters face stiff price competition: July 25: Unlike soaring prices for wheat and corn as a result of blockades and the war in Ukraine, an excess in production among Asian rice producers is putting pressure on the price of rice exports. Thai rice is still trading at USD 420 per tonne, similar to last year, while India, the world's largest rice producer, can offer prices as low as USD 343 per tonne. With Pakistan at USD 388 and Vietnam at USD 418, Thai rice producers are finding it difficult to compete. Source
Prices of variegated plants plunges as the hype dies down: July 21
Once very popular and fetching prices in the hundreds of US Dollars, shops in the country are offering variegated plants up to 90% less compared to the height of the craze. Although some species can still cost moderately high prices, around 50% of their peak, an oversupply and drop in interest have caused most variegated plant prices to nosedive and falling still. Source in Thai
Blockchain certification piloted for livestock trade: July 20. Thailand and South Korea have commenced in collaboration to utilize blockchain digital verification and certification in the trade of livestock products, the first such program for both countries. Source here and here.
Thai maize seed processor inks ‘net-zero’ agreement with Syngenta: July 19: K.P. Agro Korat Co., Ltd. has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOU) with Syngenta Seeds ( Thailand ) Co., Ltd., to cooperate in the production of high quality corn seeds by utilizing biomass waste as fuel in seed drying and dehumidification process. Located in Pak Thong Chai District of Nakhon Ratchasima province, K.P. Agro Korat’s production capacity is 200 tons per day, providing dehumidification services for agricultural products, and plans to increase its capacity to 500 tons per day. Source.
Thailand's agricultural exports up year-on-year: July 18: Mr Alongkorn Phonbutr, Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture Cooperatives, revealed that despite the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 and the Russo-Ukrainian war, the country was able to generate income from exporting agricultural products during the first five months of this year (January-May) with a total value of 12.7 million USD, an increase of 20.16% on the same period last year. Source in Thai
Confusion allayed on unauthorized use, sell of cannabis: July 27: Thailand’s Public Health Ministry and Narcotics suppression authorities will be working together to enforce regulations on the authorized use and sale of cannabis, which was decriminalized in June. The Kingdom became the first country in in Asia to decriminalize use and cultivation of the herb on June 9. Though following reports of wide scale commerce and lash back from certain segments at odds with the move, the Public Health Ministry on Tuesday wrote to the national police asking police to take legal action against unauthorized cannabis researchers, exporters, sellers and processors, though the letter was withdrawn so as to be revised “to avoid adversely affecting many people. “People should be allowed to use cannabis roots, stems, branches and leaves,” said Dr Yongyot Thammawut, director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, who also noted that the Public Health Ministry plans to set a legal limit for the quantity of cannabis flowers in households' possession so that people could grow cannabis and keep its flowers for personal health-oriented use. Source. The House committee is in the process of scrutinizing the Cannabis and Hemp Bill, which is expected to conclude by the end of August before presenting it for approval by parliament and royal endorsement. Source.The combined market for marijuana and hemp in Thailand will expand by about 15% annually through 2025, when it 9is likely to reach 43 billion baht, creating opportunities for growers and small businesses, according to the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce.Source. See also Asian Seed feature story for legal review, page 34 of this issue.
Thailand to become regional hemp hub: July 11: The government aims to make Thailand a regional hub for hemp production in the next five years. Due to the growth of the global hemp industry caused by the easing of legal restrictions in the US, Canada, Australia, EU, China, Japan and South Korea, the plant has high commercial value and is now used in a wide variety of products from animal feed to aviation. The move is expected to generate at least USD 670 million and create more jobs for the country. The global hemp industry was worth USD 3.8 billion in 2020 and is forecast to be worth USD 15 billion by 2027. Source According to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the Thai government has set a goal to generate at least 25 billion baht in revenue, with expected to yield at least 20,000 baht per rai (1,600 meters square). Source.
Phum Jai Thai party distributes ganja seeds to locals: July 8. Representatives of the political party, Phum Jai Thai, presented 48,000 cannabis seeds of the ‘Haang Gra-rork’ variety to officials of the Wang Kwang dub district administrative organization to distribute to locals for cultivation in the Nam Nao District of Phetchabun province. Source.
Chia Tai donates golf prize to charity: July 6: Management of leading Thai seed and agriculture company, Chia Tai, recently took part in ISF World Seed Congress 2022 in Barcelona Spain where they won the ISF 2022 Golf Tournament and received a cash prize worth 5,000 Euros, provided by Incotec.
In this regard, the leadership team of Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company, led by Mr. Prawin Khurowat, Chief Financial Officer; and Dr. Wallapat Kaewumpai, Chief Strategy Officer; alongside Ms. Duangporn Jirapipattanachai, General Manager of Commercial, Seed Business; and Ms. Anima Tatsajun, General Manager of Corporate Communications, represented the company to donate the 5,000 euro proceeds to support Thai Red Cross Society on its social benevolent mission. On this occasion, Ms. Piyanan Kumkrong, Assistant Director for Blood Procurement and Organization Image at the National Blood Centre, represents the Thai Red Cross Society to receive the contribution.
The International Seed Federation (ISF) organized the ISF World Seed Congress 2022 in Barcelona, Spain, from 16-18 May 2022, for the 73rd time. The ISF World Seed Congress is a prestigious international forum that brings together profound knowledge and experience on
agricultural innovations and high-quality seeds from a number of high-profile enterprises at the forefront of the global seeds industry. In addition, this year’s congress attracted more than 1,400 seed experts from 400 companies in 60 countries to exchange comprehensive knowledge and expertise, which will support and advance sustainable agriculture in the rapidly evolving world. Chia Tai's participation in the ISF World Seed Congress 2022 demonstrates the potential and readiness of Thai seeds to the global arena, while showing that the company is ready to share knowledge in order to develop Thai agriculture to an international level. Eventually, this is part of Chia Tai’s commitment to enhancing people’s quality of life on a sustainable basis by fostering agricultural innovations through quality products and services.
Dept of Medical Sciences distributes Thai cannabis seeds for breeding R&D: June 30: The Department of Medical Sciences recently staged a ceremony in which it provided 500 cannabis seeds of the Tanao Sri Kaan Daeng variety to the Thailand Medical Cannabis Institute. The variety, which is one of four non-hemp cannabis varieties that have been issued a plant variety protection certificate in Thailand, is said to have a high yield of the phytochemical Cannabinol (CBD) valued for its sedative medicinal properties. The granting of seeds is part of ongoing efforts by the Thai government agencies to distribute germplasm for medicinal and economical R&D purposes. Source.
Industry body urges for herbicide import ban ease: June 22: The Chemical Industries Club of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), academics, and farmers have urged the government to lift its ban on certain chemical herbicides and pesticides so as to enable Thailand to achieve its objective of becoming the “kitchen of the world”. Source.
Genome editing food safety guidelines drafted: May 3: The Food Safety Assessment of Organisms Derived from Gene Editing Technology Technical Biosafety Committee (TBC), National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has released its latest draft of genome editing food safety guidelines, which were revised from a previous draft following a meeting of representatives from the committee academia, and seed industry representatives on April 21. Stakeholders have identified several key issues in the latest draft, which lays out requirements for SDN1 event notification status, including obtaining agreement from food regulatory committees under the Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration. APSA, with its Thailand stakeholders are following the drafting process closely and will provide more details when confirmed.
Special rice to be distributed for Royal Ploughing Ceremony: April 27: Six breeds of rice will be distributed by the Rice Department to celebrate the Royal Ploughing Ceremony which will take place on the May 13. Bestowed by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the breeds include Jasmine, Pathum Thani, Kor Khor 43, Kor Khor 6, Kor Khor 87, and Kor Khor 85. Applications are to be made online with a limit of 2 bags of rice husks per person. Original story here
First foreign-partnered medical marijuana clinic opens in Thailand: April 25: Opened on March 7, the Herbidus Medical Center is located along Bangkok's Sukhumvit Road,and will treat patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, eating disorders and insomnia. The US-based Audacious brand "... will provide advisory services, operational intelligence, including cultivation, manufacturing and product development, and expansion of brand visibility in Thailand and beyond,” the company said. Original story here
EWS appoints new CFO: April 17: East-West Seed has appointed Ratiporn Ratcharoen as the new Chief Financial Officer in its latest change to its Managing Board. Ratiporn Ratcharoen (Ning) assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer effective April 18, 2022. Source
Fertilizer supply sufficient for May planting: March 30: Thailand is looking to increase fertiliser imports from Saudi Arabia to ensure sufficient supply during the peak plantation season. Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, insists the country has enough domestic supply for the annual crops plantation in May. Thailand imports more than 5 million tonnes of fertiliser each year, with the main suppliers including the Middle East, China, Canada and Russia. Original story here
Corn feed demand dropping as fertilizer prices rising: March 2022: Citing a USDA GAINS report forecast that corn imports are forecast to decline 17%, while local production is forecast to drop 4% in MY2021/22 from MY2020/21, Thai farmers are reportedly shifting from corn to more profitable crops. The decline in imports is linked to African Swine Fever, 5.3 mmt for MY2021/22, which is 4% linked to African Swine Fever outbreaks, while the drop in corn production – pegged at 5.3 mmt for MY2021/22 – is “attributed primarily to farmers shifting to more profitable crops such as cassava and sugar cane”. Furthermore, corn production costs are reportedly rising due to a surge in fertilizer costs – “the wholesale price of urea fertilizer (46-0-0) in November 2021 was up 130% from the same period in November 2020.” Report also notes that farmers are shifting from corn and other imported cereals to alternative, locally sourced feeds such as rice. See report here.
APSA Director on Farm To Fork podcast: Released in time for Lunar New Year, the 15th episode of Asia's Farm to Fork features an interview with APSA Director, Dr. May Chodchoey,, who shared her thoughts on the important role of quality seeds for our smallholder farmers, the challenge of driving regional food security in a sustainable way, and the increasing effect climate change is having on the food supply chain. Listen to podcast here: Asia's Farm to Fork: 5 Good Questions Podcast: Episode 15 | 5 Good Questions Podcast on Apple Podcasts
Thailand decriminalizes entire cannabis plant: 26th Jan: Thailand's Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, recently announced that the Office of the Narcotics Control Board has approved the removal of cannabis from its list of controlled drugs. The new proposal expands on the 2020 law that saw the removal of most parts of the plant from the list of controlled drugs in 2020, except buds and seeds, by decriminalizing the entire plant. Under the new regulation cannabis with less than 0.2% by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, will be decriminalized. The move opens the way for people to grow the plant at home for private medicinal use by notifying the local government office. However, home cannabis farmers have been warned they must hold off for 120 days after the rule has been published in the Royal Gazette for it to come into effect with more regulations to be drawn up in the meantime. Growing cannabis for recreational use remains a grey area although the Health Minister plans to present a draft bill to parliament that will govern the use of the herb, including commercial production and recreational use, including fines for growing without notifying the government as well as prison sentences for selling without a license. Read full story here and here.
Chia Tai Officer Wins Agro-Business Award: December 27: Chia Tai Senior Vice President of Seed Business Chaiyapan Limpiwan was chosen by the Foundation of Science and Technology Council of Thailand (FSTT) for their distinguished citizen of the year award in the category of agricultural business, which honors highly successful individuals contributing to the betterment of society. The winner has over 40 years’ experience in agriculture with Chia Tai, playing a significant role in the company’s plant breeding, and has interests in social development and strengthening food security. Read full story here.
Thai Sugar Export Prospects: December 27: After two years of drought Thai sugar marketeers are eyeing a return to prosperity despite intense competition in export markets from India and Brazil and uncertain shipping conditions. Rainfall was about 15% higher year-on-year in key cane-growing regions, prompting estimates of sugar production in the range of 9.5 - 11 million metric tonnes and total cane production of 95 million metric tonnes. Sugar exports are forecast to rise 3.8 million metric tonnes to 7.5 million. But will it turn out to be a buyers’ market? S&P Global Platts Analytics notes that, as no sugar deficit looms -- and with Asian container freight prices three-to-four times higher than last year’s -- buyers may lack a sense of urgency. Meanwhile, raw sugar traders say reduction in bulk freight prices is promoting export to major sugar importing countries such as Indonesia. Read full story here.
East-West Thailand to Distribute Breeding Varieties Developed Under Royal Sponsorship: November 17: East-West Seed Thailand will collaborate with the Chaipattana Foundation to distribute breeding varieties developed under royal sponsorship-- the first time a commercial seed company has been allowed to produce and distribute them. The Chaipattana Foundation is chaired by the King of Thailand’s sister, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and acts to support farmers and improve public health and nutrition across the country. For more details about the varieties see here, here and here.
Thai academia and industry conform for sustainable agriculture: On November 29, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands organized the first Cleveringa Lecture in Thailand on “Global Agro-Biodiversity; A Communication on Sustainable Agro-Food Value Chain”, inviting various government and industry active stakeholder in sustainable agriculture based or operating in Thailand. Attending on behalf of the Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA) were the association’s President Wichai Laocharoenpornkul and Executive Director, Dr. Kanokwan Chodchoey. Following welcome remarks from the Netherlands Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Remco van Wijngaarden, the lecture formally commenced with presentations on the key theme from Dr. Pattarawadee Sumthong Nakmee, Dean of Science at Sri Racha, Kasetsart University, Sri Racha Campus and three students — from Srinakharinwirot University, Kasetsart Universiyt, Sri Racha Campus and Kasetsart University, Kamphangsaen Campus. This was followed by discussions and a networking reception.
Chia Tai Contributes to Society By Joining Forces in "We Do Good By Heart" Volunteer Project:
November 26: Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand's leading innovative agricultural company, powers up with employees to volunteer to do good deeds for the communities nationwide through "We Do Good By Heart" Volunteer Project in accordance with Charoen Pokphand Group's practice in remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great on the occasion of His Majesty's birthday. The volunteer activity is hosted on the last Friday of every year. This year, over 150 Chia Tai staff volunteers nationwide takes part in social contribution activities for various communities nearby Chia Tai's locations in 7 provinces as follows:
Chia Tai has always operated business while focusing on ethical conduct and supporting the development of nearby communities and stakeholders. To this end, this recent social contribution initiative is another effort that reflects Chia Tai's commitment to our purpose to enhance people’s quality of life on a sustainable basis by fostering agricultural innovations through quality products and services.
THASTA webinar enhances Thai knowledge and awareness of gene-edting: On 20-21 October, the Thai Seed Trade Association (ThaSTA), in partnership with APSA, the International Seed Federation, Crop Life International and CBIJ, co organized a seminar on gene-editing technology for ThaSTA members,. Covering applications in agriculture and food, including regulatory trends and developments, the program featured some of the most knowledgeable experts on the subject from around the world. Presentations were in English and can be accessed via ThaSTA’s website here.
Crops drowned in wake of worst flooding in a decade: September 30: Tens of thousands of villagers and farmers have been displaced by severe flooding induced by incessant rains that came with and followed a tropical depression (Dianmu), which swept through Thailand on September 25-27. Several media reports have covered the disastrous effects in dozens of provinces in North, Northeast and Central Thailand, including the following highlights Asian Seed had come across at time of press:
As of September 29, it was reported that 816,607 rai (130,657 hectares) of land was submerged in Thailand’s north and central provinces - the bulk being in Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Sukhothai and Lopburi provinces (source). It was also reported that hundreds of hectares of cropland in several districts in Suphanburi province were inundated, affecting paddy, cassava, cane watermelon, as well as aquaculture ponds and livestock. Source here, and no less than 5,000 rad of cropland was damaged in the Wang Noi district of Khon Kaen province (source).
On September 28, media reported that more than 228,840 rai (36614.4 ha) of agriculture land in Chaiyaphum province had been flooded (source here), though according to a September 29 report (here) 160,000 rai of paddy in that province was reported damaged from floods, in addition to another 150,000 rai reportedly flooded in the neighboring province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
A survey in neighboring Lopburi province, revealed that on September 27 some 350,215 rai (56,034.4 ha) of cropland was inundated, including 99,233 rai of paddy, 89,346 rai of feed corn, 136,367 rai of cassava, 23,530 rai of sugar cane and 1,739 rai of fruits and vegetables - affecting 50,184 farmers in 972 villages of the province. (source here). A follow up report on September 28 revealed that 10 out of the province's 11 districts had been effected, including 55,197 residents in 647 villages, with over 2,000 rai of agriculture land damaged.
On Sept 27, thousands of banana trees were inundated on plantations in Ayutthaya province (source here), while hundreds of hectares of paddy were underwater in Pichit province (source here)
Assessments were ongoing and the acreage of damage crops and may grow or change in the coming days
Lockdowns bring closures, uncertainty & fear to fresh markets: Covid associated fear, hysteria and public health measures have spread to local freshmarkets, many of which have been ordered shut following wide reports of local outbreaks: the Nakhon Ratchasima City Municipality fresh market was ordered shut from 1 August, citing a new cluster linked to it; likewise, freshmarkets were ordered shut in Phuket early in August; while Rayong Governor on August 11 ordered shut the Star Fresh Market in Rayong City shut after it was reported that 11 “aliens” linked to the vegetable section had tested positive. In similar closures, the Lopburi City Municipality Market was shut from August 16; Prachuap Khiri Khan municipal market shut from August 17; Surat Thani City Municipality shut from August 19, and the Nakhon Phanom fresh market was ordered shut from August 22 after one vegetable vendor reportedly have tested positive. Though some rural markets were open for business, the situation proved to be tense at times. In one case a August 26 video report shows market goers arguing with one 69-year-old vendor at a fresh market in Lukkae Subdistrict, Tha Maka District, Kanchanaburi Province. The lady, who asserted she was not infected, refused demands for her to leave, get tested and quarantine at home after a neighboring vendor had previously tested positive for covid. Local authorities had cordoned off her stall (while she was still there), the viral clip shows. Elsewhere, spray sanitation and mass testing of vendors has been carried out to facilitate the conditional reopening of eerily quiet markets, as was the case in Nakhon Ratchasima, as reported on August 24.
Consumers stockpiling essential goods: August 13: Operators of supermarkets and hypermarkets report that consumers have been stocking up on large quantities of essential goods, which has resulted in shortages of some items. Lockdown measures have spurred demand for everything from packed rice, cooking oil and instant noodles to meat, seasoning, fish sauce, tissue paper and drinking water. "Consumers have been stocking up during the daily reports of high infection rates and infection spread to the factories and distribution centres of some retailers," said one retailer. See full report here.
CP growing herbs, distributing meal boxes as part of relief: August 17: In a televised interview with the Thai-Chinese agro-food tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont (Senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group), it was revealed that the firm is growing green chiretta, an herb reported to have antiviral and intiinflamatory properties, on a 160 hectare area as well as distributing food boxes as part of covid relief efforts. The company aims to produce 30 million tablets of the herb anbd distribute them across the kingdom. Full details here.
Chia Tai launches Pakchoy hybrids: July 5: Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company has released Thailand’s first-ever Flowering Pakchoy F1 hybrids: the Flowering Pakchoy Khaonuan and Flowering Pakchoy Pinmorrakot. These two new varieties require fewer seeds but yield twice as much when compared to conventional varieties. They can be harvested in only 30–35 days after sowing.
Chia recognizes the issues surrounding the cultivation of Open Pollinated (OP) seeds. For instance, the seed requirement is high while yields are low, necessitating multiple harvests. Furthermore the plant size is inconsistent. To address these challenges, and thus provide farmers with more alternatives of seed varieties Chia Tai developed these two new F1 hybrids, with details as follows: .
1. Flowering Pakchoy Khaonuan (F1-Hybrid) has light green and large stalks, nice flower heads, and a steady growth rate. The produce normally weighs 90-100 grams each on average, which is better than other OP ones that weigh only 35-40 grams each. Farmers can also expect high yields (on average 2.5-3.5 tons per rai), which is twice as much as the regular yield volume of OP seeds. After seeding, farmers can harvest their crops in 30–35 days. It is popular among farmers because of all these advantages. Flowering Pakchoy Khaonuan (F1-Hybrid), which is popular in the Northern and Northeastern regions, is suitable for basic recipes. such as Boiled Flowering Pakchoy with Chili Paste, Northern Thai Spicy Soup, or Northern-Style Flowering Pakchoy Soup.
2. Flowering Pakchoy Pinmorrakot (F1-Hybrid) has dark green and large stalks. Farmers prefers it because of its high weight (average of 90-100 grams per plant), which is superior to other OP plants that weigh just 35-40 grams per plant. Plus, farmers can expect high yields (on average 2.5-3.5 tons per rai), which is twice the volume of ordinary OP seed harvests and can also harvest their crops in 30–35 days after seeding. Flowering Pakchoy Pinmorrakot (F1-Hybrid) is a perfect ingredient for various recipes, particularly Hong Kong-Style ones, such as Stir-fried Flowering Pakchoy with Oyster Sauce, or other recipes similar to Flowering Pakchoy Khaonuan (F1-Hybrid).
Mr. Supat Mekiyanon, Assistant Vice President of Research & Development of Chia Tai Company Limited, commented on the goals for and benefits of breeding Thailand’s first-ever Flowering Pakchoy F1 hybrids: “We acknowledge the significance and potential of moving forward. We have excellent breeding capability for developing hybrid seed varieties that are distinct from the existing OP seeds. The breeding effort intends to bring greater benefits to our fellow farmers by allowing them to obtain larger yields with fewer seeds and enjoy a consistent growth rate, resulting in a single harvest period. After all, farmers can grow their plants efficiently, anticipate yield volumes, benefit from lesser risks, and eventually earn steady income."
Original story here.
Thailand tightens Covid-19 measures with new lockdown: July 22: Fresh COVID-19 restrictions and curfews were imposed in Greater Bangkok and southern provinces, as Thailand tallied record case numbers of COVID-19. The most severe restrictions were targeted at the capital Bangkok, its surrounding provinces and the southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwas, Yala, and Satun. The measures include a 9 pm to 4 am curfew for non-essential movement, closure of shopping malls, massage parlours, beauty salons, gyms and bars. Restaurants are restricted to take-away only with many businesses seeking temporary premises outside of the closed shopping malls from which to continue to operate. Social gatherings are capped at five people, and officials have urged employees in both private and public sectors to work from home where possible. However, supermarkets, banks, hospitals and medical clinics will still be allowed to open. Domestic air travel has been suspended to and from Bangkok while other domestic flights must fly at no more than 50% capacity. Strict measures are also in place at checkpoints to prevent interprovincial arrivals from high-risk provinces.
Chia Tai’s “Century Star” Watermelon wins prestigious award in the US: Bangkok, 12 July 2021 – Chia Tai’s “Century Star” watermelon variety was recently awarded as a Regional Winner in the internationally renowned All-America Selections® Awards. Chia Tai has amassed wealth of plant breeding know-how over the course of a century. In this regard, Century Star Watermelon is one of the results of meticulous research and development aimed at meeting market demands and adding value to the product, while also commemorating Chia Tai's Centennial. This new seedless watermelon has an attractive dark green rind with yellow spots that resembles the moon and stars in the sky at night, making it a unique product in the market. Apart from the vivid yellow spots that set this award-winning watermelon apart from other varieties, Century Star Watermelon has several additional advantages. It is easy to grow, robust, disease-resistant, and adaptable to a range of planting situations. In addition, this watermelon provides an excellent average yield of 3–5 kilograms. Farmers are rewarded with a beautiful round fruit, sweet and crispy interior flesh from this cutting-edge seedless cultivar. All these traits make Century Star Watermelon a truly deserving award winning variety from All - America Selections (AAS). All-America Selections® was founded in 1932 and continues as the oldest independent testing organization in North America. Every year, new varieties, which have never been sold in North America, are trialed and professional horticulturists select winning varieties based on their performance. Mr. Manas Chiaravanond, Chief Executive Officer of Chia Tai Company Limited, said, “The fact that our Century Star Watermelon won the AAS Regional Winner Award this year is certainly a source of great pride for all of us at Chia Tai. Century Star Watermelon is like a beautiful star that shines brightly and makes all of us in the Chia Tai Family proud, especially as we start the next century of our business operations. The AAS award is testament to Chia Tai’s strong commitment to fostering agricultural innovations and demonstrates our ongoing efforts to improve ourselves over the past century. We have a great team of high-caliber professionals and breeders, and we are committed to providing the finest to our fellow farmers and customers in order to increase food security and enhance people’s quality of life on a sustainable basis.
Mr. Supat Mekiyanon, Assistant Vice President of Research & Development, Chia Tai Company Limited, added, “Chia Tai’s team of watermelon breeders recognizes that yellow spots on the rind of heirloom watermelon varieties are one of the distinguishing qualities that local farmers generally believe will bring them good luck. As a result, any watermelons with yellow spots are rare and expensive on the market. Realizing this, the breeder team chose to capitalize on these distinct traits by improving the quality and developing it to become the Century Star Watermelon, which is superior to other heirloom varieties. This variety of watermelon seeds not only offer greater quality, but also are easy to grow, providing great fruits that are delectable and seedless while meeting current market demands. Century Star Watermelon seeds were trialed by professional horticulturists in the AAS network across America. Based on its performance, our Century Star Watermelon was declared Regional winner of the AAS Awards.
Chia Tai's Century Star Watermelon seeds will initially be sold in the US and later made available for the Thai market. Interested persons can learn more about news and updates on Facebook and on Chia Tai’s website, as well as Line: @CHIATAISEED
Pumpkin farmers hurting from falling crisis prices: May 19: At Ban Phaeng District Office in Nakhon Phanom Province, a meeting was held to discuss assistance for pumpkin farmers due to the falling price of pumpkin. Participating in the meeting were local leaders from Ban Phaeng, the Second Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Suphachai Phosu, member of parliament for Nakhon Phanom District 1, Ms Kanatha Apinant Thanakaset, and head of the Nakhon Phanom Department of Agricultural Extension, Mr Winai Kong Yuen, and representatives of pumpkin growers from 14 villages in the province. The Deputy District Chief discussed the issue being faced by pumpkin farmers in the area due to the price of pumpkin being much lower than the previous year due to the economic effects of the global pandemic. Speaking at the meeting, a local farmer explained that middlemen were offering only USD 0.064 per kilogram, compared to USD 0.35 per kilogram the previous year. He asked the government and private sector to help support the price at USD 0.16 - 0.19 per kilogram, which would allow the farmers to break even. The mayor of Ban Phaeng Municipality spoke about the benefits to farmers of forming community enterprise groups to negotiate the price of their crops to avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous middlemen. Mr Supachai proposed the setting up of a fund of around USD 3,200 to purchase 30% of the total produce from farmers at USD 0.16 per kilogram and then trying to find a buyer, suggesting that there was a demand for pumpkin juice and pumpkin crisps from consumers. Original story in Thai language
Thailands ‘National Veg Policy’?: May 13: Thailand agriculture stakeholders came together for an online discussion on creating a ‘national national policy’ which was part of international dialogues to support the UN Food Systems Summit National Dialogue, and co-hosted by Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and WorldVeg East and Southeast Asia. Nine speakers, including Dr. Vanida Khumnirdpetch, Director of Foreign Agricultural Affairs, MOAC; Delphine Larrousse, WorldVeg Regional Director; and Jody Harris, WorldVeg Global Lead Specialist for Food Systems, engaged more than 250 participants through online presentations and breakout discussions.
Ideas and comments generated during the dialogue will inform and shape policy platforms at the pre-summit in July and the summit in September.
DOD to proceed with hemp seed imports: May 18: DOD Biotech subsidiary Siam Herbaltech Co., Ltd., plans to proceed with importing hemp seeds imports from the United States this June. The company plans to import 10 varieties from the US, including eight bred for cannabidiol (CBD) extraction, and two conventional hemp (bred for fiber) varieties. See original story in Thai here.
Seeds for Royal Ploughing tradition prepared: May 10: Though the main event of the traditional Royal Ploughing Ceremony -- usually planned as a large public gathering on May 10 on the Sanam Luang royal grounds -- was cancelled citing COVID-19, paddy seeds of five varieties were prepared for distribution to farmers nationwide. The seeds were packed in to 366,000 packets. See here for news in Thai, and descriptions in Thai of five varieties here.
Chia Tai launches four new products: Chia Tai Home Garden by Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company, has introduced four new products for keen planters to enjoy.
Developed by Chia Tai, the new products come in new “easy packages” with Melon Golden Queen, Watermelon Smoothy, Sweet Corn Double Delight, and White Cucumber seeds.
• Melon Golden Queen is one of Chia Tai’s most popular melon varieties, with yellow skin, sweet and subtle flesh, and pleasant texture.
• Watermelon Smoothy is Chia Tai Home Garden’s new seedless watermelon variety that has waxy black skin and delectable red flesh.
• Sweetcorn Double Delight is bi-colour sweetcorn (white and yellow) with a sweet taste and full yellow kernels. It is also easy to grow and offers great yields.
• White Cucumber comes with light green and white skin, is easy to grow and resistant to diseases and stands up to freight transport well. It has a short harvest time and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
The new “easy packages” offer an easy way for customers to enjoy planting at home, especially as many people are having to work from home and spend most of their time at home.
The four new products are developed with the aim of helping farmers plant fruits and vegetables that meet the needs of consumers, increase food security, and also boost income for farmers. Which is in line with Chia Tai’s broader aim of enhancing quality of life on a sustainable basis by fostering agricultural innovations through quality products and services.
Those interested can purchase the seeds at leading agricultural supply stores and modern trade stores nationwide. Or place your order at www.ct-homegarden.com /Line: @homegarden / Facebook of Chia Tai Home Garden: www.facebook.com/cthomegarden.
Seeds of four fiber hemp varieties offered for sale: 27 April: The Highland Research and Development Institute (HRDI) will be offering for sale to its partners and the general public seeds of four hemp (non-psychoactive cultivar of Cannabis sativa) varieties from 26 April to 5 May. In total it has prepared for sale 5,600 kilograms of seed,certified by a narcotics control committee under the Ministry of Public Health. All four of the institute’s varieties -- which have PVP registration in Thailand -- were initially bred for production of hemp fiber. Both grain and certified seed are available for individuals at the rate of THB750 and 520 ($23.88 and $16.56) per kg, respectively, with a quota capped at 20kg per individual. See full details here as well as here.
Rice seed inspectors dispatched: 27 April: As Thailand prepares for the coming rice planting season, some 257 ‘rice seed inspectors’ have been dispatched to conduct inspections of rice seed retailers and traders across the kingdom, and thus ensure full compliance with seed quality laws, standards and regulations. Thai news here.
Varietal purity AI analysis of rice seeds has 85% accuracy: 27 April: Associate Professor Dr. Woraphan Kusakulniran of the Mahidol University of Information and Communications Technology has revealed promising research results for using Artificial Intelligence to analyze rice varietal purity in a given sample. Specifically, using Mask R-CNN (Mask Regional Convolutional Neuron Network) and Machine Learning, the composition of two given varieties can be determined from images of sample of rice seeds, with a promising 85% accuracy rate, which is reportedly 20% higher than expert human analysis, findings show. The technique once refined, shows promise for other types of seeds and agricultural produce. See original story in Thai here as well as here.
DOAE happiness pantry stocked with free seeds: April 24: The Department of Agriculture Extension (DOAE) has added five types of sowing seed to its covid relief ‘Too Pun Suk’ (the Happiness Cupboard), which is a mobile pantry-type cupboard stocked with free food necessities for distribution to members of the public struggling during these pandemic times. The pantry, which is stocked with fresh produce and processed food items in addition to seeds of basil, Thai eggplant, okhra, purple winged-bean and Thai chillies, is located at the DOAE’s main entrance next to Kasetsart University BTS station. Details in Thai here.
Chia Tai Receives Q Mark Certifying Product Safety and Standards: 8 April: Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company, recently acquired “Q Mark” food safety certification from the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity & Food Standards (ACFS). The mark assures customers that Chia Tai Farm produce meet the bureau’s standards. Q Mark certifies the quality and safety of Chia Tai’s production process which is the company’s top priority. More details here.
Thai RD distributes paddy for planting: April 7: Coinciding with the annual ceremony for Royal Ploughing Day -- a national holiday to commence the primary rice planting season -- Thailand’s Rice Department prepared 1,396 kilograms of paddy seed, including five popular Thai rice varieties: 105 Thai Jasmine; Pathumthani 1; GorKor 43; GorKor 6; and GorKor 79. The Rice Department went on to distribute 366,000 sacks of paddy through its network of Rice Communities. Original story here.
THASTHA new president: Dr. Boonyanath Nathwong has commenced her tenure as the new president of Thai Seed Trade Association (THASTA), taking the reins over from Immediate Past President, Dr. Chairerg Sagwansupyakorn. Dr. Boonyanath’s appointment was announced during THASTHA’s General Assembly Meeting on 24 March, held at the Maharuai Hotel in Bangkok. Dr. Boonyanath, who is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Monsanto, Thailand of @Bayer Crop Sciences, is an active member of APSA’s Standing Committee of International Trade and Quarantine, who has worked diligently with us in a number of regional initiatives.
CP to Invest into Research for Hemp Food Production: March 16: Charoen Pokphand Group has teamed up with Maejo University to collaborate on research into hemp for the development of food products. The move is in line with government policy to promote hemp as a cash crop as a way to increase income for farmers and to benefit public health and the economy. The research will investigate hemp variety development, growing techniques, and methods to utilise hemp extract as an ingredient in food production. Products will be able to be traced back to plant varieties and cultivation sites in order to meet food safety requirements. Ready-made meals containing hemp extract may be released later this year. Original story in Thai here
82 Community Enterprises Now Licensed to Grow Cannabis: March 14: Hemp-related businesses have begun taking off after the FDA removed parts of the cannabis plant from the narcotics schedule in December 2020, and there are now a reported 82 community enterprises throughout the country that have received licenses to grow the plant. These are located in Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Mae Hong Son provinces as well as Bangkok.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, revealed that the government aimed to promote the development of cannabis to take advantage of a global market estimated to be worth 17.5 billion US dollars. The government is encouraging the development of a complete range of cannabis products to benefit the economy in the fields of traditional Thai medicine, health products, and health tourism.
The purchase price of grade A dried flowers with a CBD content greater than 12% is reported at 45,000 Baht per kg; grade B flowers with CBD content of 10-11.9% at 37,500-43,125 Baht per kg; and flowers with CBD content of 8-9.9% selling at 30,000-35,625 Bcvfaht per kg. Original story in Thai here
Chia Tai Chief named Person of the Year, firm lauded for Best Practices: Mr. Manas Chiaravanond, Chief Executive Officer of Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company has been named “Person of the Year 2021”, while his company was bestowed with the “Best Practice Awards 2021”. The accolades were conferred during a presentation ceremony on 5 March 2021 at Air Force Convention Hall Read more here.
Webinar Q&A on new Thailand seed import conditions: February 25: APSA, together with the Thai Seed Trade Association (THASTA) and Department of Agriculture (DoA), Thailand on February 25 co-organized the “Q&A Webinar on Thailand Import Conditions on Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant and Corn Seeds”. Broadcast from APSA’s Bangkok Secretariat office, the webinar was held in English to inform and advise concerned importers prepare to comply with the new regulations, which come into force on 13 April, 2021. The new regulations cover various seed specific requirements, conditions and procedures such as those related to certification, inspection procedures, phytosanitary measures (including species-specific pest lists and treatments) as well as seed testing sample size. Presenting on the conditions on behalf of the DoA was Ms Chonticha Rakkrai, (Director, Plant Protection Research and Development Office). Following her presentation, Ms Chonticha, along with her colleagues from the DoA,
Ms Sukhontip Sombat (Agricultural Research Specialist, Plant Protection Research and Development Office) and Mr. Surapol Yinasawapun (Plant Quarantine Expert). The full webinar can be viewed on APSA’s website here. The summary report and presentation will be uploaded to the APSA members area.
The 17th National Conference on Seed Technology 2021: 16 Dec: The Seed Association of Thailand, in association with Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi, the Rice Department, the Department of Agriculture Extension, the Forestry Department, the Thai Seed Trade Association, the Plant Breeding and Multiplication Association of Thailand, and the Asia Pacifi Seed Association, will hold the 17th National Plant Seeds Symposium during 22 - 24 June 2021 at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hantra Campus, Ayutthaya Province. The conference will host researchers, academics, and the private sector with the aim of growing Thailand into a global “Seed Hub”. Topics will include information on research and development of seed technology, the direction and framework for seed research for use in the seed industry, and how seed research institutions can solve the problems experienced by the Thai seed industry.
New Thai medical Cannabis cultivar gets PVP: A newly documented Cultivar of Cannabis Sativa has been issued a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) certificate. Details of the PVP application for the “Isara 01” cultivar of Cannabis Sativa, including the cultivar’s origin, phenotypic and physiological characteristics, were publicized by Thailand’s PVP Office (under the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives), via a notice dated December 23, 2020, which was signed by DoA Director-General Pichet Wiriyaphaha, and mandated for a 30-day period for objections to be filed. After no objection was reported, a PVP certificate was issued on January 29, 2021. According to details in the PVP application -- which was jointly lodged on behalf of the Chiang Rai Organic Agro-Forestry Foundation, Department of Medical Services and the Department of Agriculture -- the cultivar was bred over a period of 24 years, starting from landrace seeds collected from farmers, hill tribe people and law enforcement officers in several provinces in Northern Thailand, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Nan. Though earlier generations of the cultivar were reportedly selected and bred specifically for industrial hemp purposes, later breeding and seed multiplication efforts -- carried out as part of cooperation with Maejo University, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna and the Department of Medical Services -- focused on medicinal properties. According to an analysis of leaf samples, the average cannabinoid content was reported to be 8.55% TCH and 6.93% CBD, respectively. The seeds, are grey and brown colored, and a sample of 1,000 seeds weighs 32 grams. PVP application details in Thai here.
New regulation broadens hemp cultivation scope: Since January 29, 2021, Thai authorities have been processing applications from Thai entities for licenses to produce, import, export, distribute, and possess hemp (low THC cultivars of Cannabis sativa). According to “Ministerial Regulation Re: Application and License for Pr
oduction, Importation, Exportation, Selling or Possession of Hemp,” which came into force 30 days after it was published in the Government Gazette (on December 30, 2020), licenses may be issued for various objectives, including study, research and development, or breeding of hemp varieties as well as production of certified hemp seeds. Eligibility for licenses is restricted to Thai citizens, Thailand-registered companies with at least two-thirds of directors, partners, or shareholders holding Thai nationality, and Thailand-registered community enterprises. More details can be found here as well as Thai regulation here. According to the latest amendments to the Thai narcotics law, various parts or derivatives of the cannabis plant -- including seeds, stems, leaves and extracts -- are not considered narcotics if they contain less than 0.2% THC.
Chia Tai donates vegetable seeds to hill tribe communities: 13 January 2021 – Chai Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company that has grown alongside Thai farmers for a long time, is firmly committed to driving sustainable development for Thai society by promoting people’s quality of life and enhancing children’s development in a bid to ensure food security and uplift people’s living quality on a sustainable basis. Chia Tai has recently supported “Hom Doi Klai Nao Year 2 Project” organized by E Jan in collaboration with Phetkasem Foundation to develop 3 border patrol police schools in Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son Province, including Ban Joprakee, Ban Pomue and Ban Koprae Border Patrol Police Schools. In this regard, Chia Tai donates home garden vegetable seeds which are suitable for planting in highland climate for the local people. See full story here.
DoA Thailand announces seed import conditions: January 2021: The Department of Agriculture (DoA), Thailand has announced new conditions for the import of tomato, pepper, eggplant and maize seeds for sowing in Thailand. The announcement was made on 13 January, 2021 and the new conditions will come into force 90 days after the announcement date. The DoA plans to submit the English version of the notification to World Trade Organization within February 2021. The conditions cover various seed specific requirements, conditions and procedures such as those related to certification, inspection procedures, phytosanitary measures (including species-specific pest lists and treatments) as well as seed testing sample size. The conditions will be published in English in Asian Seed magazine. Meanwhile, you can find the Thai version for pepper seeds here; eggplant seeds here; maize seeds here; and tomato seeds here.
East-West Seeds inks MoU with Community Development Dept: On January 13 East West Seed General Manager Mr. Wichai Laocharoenpornkul signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Suthipong Chulcharoen, Director-General of the Department of Community Development under the Ministry of Interior to commit to a project to distribute 100,000 packets of East-West Seed vegetable seeds as part of a 90-day community food security initiative. Read more here.
Covid-19 relief seeds on the way: December 2020:
The Project “ตู้เย็นข้างบ้านต้านภัย COVID– 19” which literally translates to “fridge on the side of your house [home food garden] to protect against Covid-19” has seen lots of demand. So far 245,524 seed kits out of 300,000 had been sent to farmers and citizens who registered online to receive them. The seeds were prepared and donated by the Department of Agriculture Extension, Chia Tai Seeds and East-West Seeds, as reported earlier in the year. More details in Thai language here.
Cannabis seeds, other plant material to be delisted as ‘narcotics’: NOVEMBER 2020:
Thailand’s Narcotics Control Committee resolved on November 24 to exclude the leaves, branches, stems, trunks, bark, fibre and roots of cannabis and hemp from the government's narcotics list. According to the news reported by Bangkok Post here, shoots, including flowers, will remain on the list, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would draft a new public health regulation. Nonetheless, seeds and extracts would still be regulated, not be allowed to contain more than 0.2% of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In subsequent news in DECEMBER, the Tourism and Sports and Public Health ministries had announced plans for the “first medical marijuana tour in Southeast Asia next year” which looks to include plantations in eight provinces: Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Samut Songkhram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Phatthalung and Chon Buri. According to the news here, “The goal of the tour is to increase awareness of marijuana for medical purposes and inform those who are interested in growing the plant of the laws”. Also in recent news, as reported by Coconuts Bangkok here, Thailand has rescheduled more than 100 illicit drugs -- including cocaine, morphine and opium -- to allow for medical and research use. The new regulation as outlined in the Royal Gazette here, are set to come into effect in July 2021. For more information about Thailand’s cannabis industry, see this report.
Quality rice seed production upgrading with QR-cloud traceability
Dr. Juadee Pongmaneerat, Secretary General of the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards, has revealed details about Thailand’s “QR Trace On Cloud” initiative, which has seen rapid progress to bring digital traceability to the Kingdom’s agricultural commodity supply chain, with a focus on fruit, vegetables and other essential products, such as rice seeds. Featured in an interview with Siam Rath, Dr. Juadee revealed that her bureau has been cooperating with Thailand’s Rice Department to provide training on QR-code traceability to officials at 28 Rice Seed Centers around the country, in addition to farmers and representatives of 24 community-level rice seed production bases, which are also integrating Good Agricultural Practices (GAP seed) and a Q-mark quality assurance scheme. More details in Thai language here.
Improving rice seed quality in Roi Et
Rice farmers in the Non Suwan district of Thailand’s Roi Et province previously required as much as 30 kilograms of seed to sow on one rai (1,600 square meters). Farmers in the district supply not only rice for the market, but also seed. Therefore, officials from the province’s Rice Seed Center have been training the farmers on best practices in order to not only improve the quantity and quality of yields, but to reduce overheads and thus increase returns. Training, which has covered weed and soil management, cover crop planting and responsible chemical use, has enabled farmers to reduce their seed requirement significantly to about 10 kg per rai. Quality base seeds have also been supplied. More details in Thai here.
State ramps up support for quality rice seed production in Uttaradit
In order to meet growing demand for high-quality rice seeds, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, through the Rice Department and Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives are shoring support for rice seed farmers in Uttaradit Province, including through training, and making available financial support in the form of subsidies and low-interest loans. More details here in Thai language.
Cabinet gives green light for feed maize grain price guarantee
Thailand’s Cabinet has given the nod for a budget of THB1.9 billion ($60.2 million) to ensure feed-grade maize farmers with a minimum price guarantee of THB 8.5 (US$ 0.27) per kilogram of their crop. The “price guarantee” scheme, which was also offered last year, applies specifically to farmers who planted their crop between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020, with a cap of 30 rai (4.8 hectares) per household eligible. Eligible grain must meet the moisture content requirement of 14.5% while farmers who registered to plant feed maize for seed are not eligible. More details in Thai report here.
EWS launches Kitchen Garden for Thai hospital
East-West Seed Thailand on August 7 officially launched its “Kitchen Garden” project at Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital. The news, announced on Facebook here,is to support efforts to “help bring more vegetables to urban areas and support our healthcare heroes during this difficult time”. The leading vegetable seed company partnered with Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs in a 100 square meter area on the hospital’s premises.
EWS links up with Dept of Ag Extensions Young Smart Farmers
East-West Seed has engaged in a a public-private partnership with Thailand’s Department of Agriculture Extension involving the departments "Young Smart Farmer” program, in which the seed company will help to develop more young farmers into the field of vegetable production.. Read more details about the partnership here.
Royal Project veg seeds donated to Nakhon Phanom families
Royal Project vegetable seeds have been donated on behalf of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to 50 families in 13 sub districts of Nakhon Phanom’s muang district in Northeastern Thailand. The seeds, donated during a ceremony, are part of relief efforts for those in Nakhon Phanom negatively affected by the pandemic. More details in Thai language here.
55,000 ganja seeds donated, PVP and cannabis seed bank eyed
Rajamangala University of Technology has recently donated more than 55,000 cannabis seeds to various entities According to this news article by Manager Online, the institution’s Isan campus in Nakhon Ratchasima recently donated 18,000 seeds to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, which are planned to be distributed to 150 sub-district level “Health Promoting Hospitals” around the country, which will utilize the seeds to grow cannabis plants for the purpose of producing approved cannabis oil-based medicines. This follows the institution’s Sakhon Nakhon campus donating some 37,110 seeds -- including 19,792 of the ‘squirrel's tail’ variety, and another 17,318 of the ‘golden foil’ variety -- to entities approved by the Thailand Food and Drug Administration. The university is in the process of selecting varieties for registering (in accordance with the Thai Plant Variety Protection Act), with a a goal of establishing a dedicated cannabis seed bank.
‘Father of Thai cannabis’ dies
Thailand’s leading cannabis reform and legalization advocate, Boonthoon Niyamabha, more commonly known as “Loong Tu” or "Uncle Too", passed away on August 29. It was reported that he had suffered chronic heart problems. “Tu was one of the first Thai Nationals to put it all on the line to demand change for Cannabis legalization, the most outspoken and hard speaking advocate I have ever known,” wrote fellow industry advocate, Don Land in a LinkedIn post. Aside from advocating for reform, Tu was also widely revered and respected in Thai circles for successfully treating cancer patients with a homemade THC formula, which he taught patients and others how to make. His large following has nicknamed him the ‘Father of Thai cannabis’.
For more information on Thailand’s cannabis industry, see this link
JUNE AND JULY 2020
THASTA President warns of fall armyworm increased threat this year
Dr. Chairerg Sagwansupyakorn, the President of the Thai Seed Trade Association (THASTA) has warned for agriculturalists and concerned government officers to consider the potential loss for a new round of devastation on cropping due to the threat of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Interviewed by Thai media here, Dr Chairerg pointted out that the pest had caused loss to more than 30% of the corn crop in a previous season, and now that it’s maize sowing season we cannot be complacent. Now that there has been bans and/or increased regulation on certain crop-protection chemicals, the expense of farmers to control any pest outbreak this year would affect the bottom line of farmers, he said, providing a number of figures. In related recent news, Thailand had enforced a ban in early June on two widely used agricultural chemicals: paraquat and chlorpyrifos. According to Reuters, some 10 million farming households in Thailand relied on paraquat to kill weed on palm, rubber, sugarcane, corn, and cassava plantations.
Drought affects rice output
According to this July 23 article, citing figures from theThai Rice Exporters Association, Thailand is projected to only export 6.5 million tonnes of rice by the end of the year, compared to 7.5 million tonnes last year. If so, it would be the lowest quantity exported by the Kingdom in a decade. In the first half of 2020, Thailand exported 3.14 million tonnes of rice, a reduction of 32.7% from the same period last year. This was worth US$2.2 billion, down 12% year-on year. The reduction in exports is blamed reduced output due toprolonged drought. In related news, rice cropping in parts of Prachaup Khiri Khan province are at risk due to “dangerously low level” of the Pran Buri reservoir, the province’s main supply of water other than rain. A meeting at the end of July was scheduled to identify which farmland would be prioritised and farmers would be advised to plant more drought-friendly crops. 25,000 rai or 4,000 hectares of seasonal rice would be at the mercy of rainwater. Report published here
Royal seeds presented to model farmer
On July 16 in Sukhothai province, a ceremony was held to present disease-resistant, climate-resilient seeds on behalf of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The seeds were presented to a model farmer during a ceremony attended by government officials. News in Thai here.
BIOTEC rapid hybrid seed purity test praised for being quick and accurate
Popular Thai business news website, Mgr Online has praised the work of Dr. Wirulda Pootakham, researcher at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), and specifically her award-winning HybridSure DNA-based purity test. The rapid test can deliver accurate hybrid purity results within a day, compared to conventional “grow-out trial” assay tests, which may require six to 12 months to obtain results, which may not even be accurate. See here for further description in English.
East-West Thailand donates seeds, growing extension as part of Covid-19 outreach
East-West Seed Thailand has signed two different Memorandum Of Understandings — in April and May — committing tens of thousands of seed packs and community uplifting as part of its latest community outreach efforts to improve the livelihoods of local farmers. In April, EWS Thailand signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Community Development Department, Thailand, to support a project to distribute 45,600 seed pouches of common Thai kitchen vegetable crops nationwide. The project aims to promote kitchen gardening and encourage people to consume healthy food during a time when buying food has become a challenge in some areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation (See story below for more details about the Thai government project.
Moreover, in May, EWS Thailand signed another MoU, this time with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE) to support several projects through the distribution of free quality seeds as well as offer educational and agricultural extension initiatives. As part of this MoU, the company donated some 50,000 seed pouches which will complement three key projects:.
This story will be covered in Asian Seed Magazine. Also, find more news from East West Seed here.
Chia Tai gifts half-a-million seed packets for Covid-19 relief
Chia Tai has joined hands with the Community Development Department to distribute 500,000 vegetable seed packets to create food security and ease COVID-19 impacts. The seeds were donated as part of a 90-day action plan titled “Planting Vegetable Gardens for Food Security”. Under the project, which originated by the Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior, the vegetable seeds will be distributed to people in 76 provinces across the country, with the aim of helping people gain access to quality fresh homegrown vegetables, create food security and help ease the impact from COVID-19.
Commenting on the project, Community Development Department Director-General Mr. Suthipong Jullacharoen said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a wide impact on the Thai economy, with many companies having to reduce staff numbers or even close their businesses, resulting in a significant increase of unemployment and people having to be more prudent with their spending. Moreover, on the background of this uncertain time, people also may feel insecure regarding possible food shortages. Aligned to our vision to increase stability of local economy and to build self-reliance for Thai people, we believe that [the late] King Rama 9’s sufficiency economy philosophy can be the resolution to these problems, and will help the country pull through this crisis, especially on creating food security, an urgent issue that needs immediate action.”
Therefore, the Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior, has come
up with the 90-day action plan called “Planting Vegetable Gardens for Food Security.” The objective is to enable Thais to have sufficient sources of food at home and to be able to reduce their expenses during economic slowdown. The plan also aims to help prepare Thais to be self-reliant in time of crisis.
To be a part of this effort, Chia Tai has supported with 500,000 packets of four quality vegetable seeds, specifically Chinese kale, Chinese convolvulus, Basil and Bird Chili, which will be given to people in 76 provinces across the country. Not only does this project help
Thai people have access to safe and quality vegetables to share with their family and reduce their expenses, but it also helps create food security for the country.
More details about Chiatai’s efforts will be featured in the upcoming issue of Asian Seed Magazine. Meanwhile, news in Thai is featured here on their website.
Boy’s crop loss Facebook Live post draws seed aide from Interior Ministry
When a 12-year-old boy in the Muang district of Songkhla turned to social media to voice his complaints of cows eating his water convulous crops, he soon became the talk of town, prompting attention and visit from the Interior Ministry. It turned out the boy had been growing the vegetables to sell and help his family during hard economic times brought on by covid-19 restrictions. In the end, the officer from the Interior Ministry donated the boy a whole new bag of water convolvulus seeds and gave hima 1,000 baht advance for his crop, instructing the boy to distribute the crops to villagers. Thai Post reports.
HRH Princess Donates Veg Seeds to Locals
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has donated several dozen Royal Project vegetable seed kits to families living near the Mengrai Fort in Chiang Rai province of Northern Thailand. The news, covered here in Thai language, says the seeds were donated in response to challenges posed by the Covid-19 situation.
Grocery delivery trucks get new life during lockdown
Converted pickup trucks converted into mobile fresh markets are a common site around Thai neighborhoods, and even more so since the country was put under lockdown. Bangkok Post reports that these grocery delivery trucks have been more profitable than before now that many people are hesitant to go to hypermarkets and convenience stores.
Ensuring sufficient domestic food supply
Thailand’s government has taken a number of initiatives to ensure food security during the month of April and beyond, reports Food Navigator Asia. Among them include shoring up production and distribution mechanisms, which has increasingly emphasized online channels and efficient home-delivery service. According to figures citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand produces about 28.4 million tons of paddy, with domestic consumption at about 13.3 million tons, and seed production at 1.37 million tons; Likewise, the kingdome only consumes about 17% of its annual fish and seafood harvested, with sufficient production of other types of food. Nonetheless, there has been some ‘panic buying’ and food hoarding reported.
Thailand Commerce Minister withdraws proposal to join CPTPP
Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister has reportedly withdrawn a proposal to the cabinet for Thailand to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Bangkok Post reported on April 28. The news follows mounting opposition from civil groups, and from Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, the article notes. Should Thailand join the 11-nation trade bloc, the Kingdom would be obliged to adopt the UPOV 1991 convention.
District officials distribute free vegetable seeds in Angthong
In response to concerns of limited market supply and widespread fear among villagers to go to markets, local government officials in Visetchaicharn district of Angthong Province distributed over 1,000 packets of vegetable seeds of leading Thai companies, Chia Tai and East-West Seed. The seeds included many types of crops, including leafy vegetables, kale, basil, chili peppers and cucumbers. Thai language news here.
Private companies donate 10,500 seed packets in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai News reports on an initiative of Mae Jo United club, along with Bor O. K. Maled Pun and Food Seeds company donating 10,500 packets of vegetable seeds, valued at THB105,000, to the Nong Harn sub-district municipality in Sun Sai district in Chiang Mai as part of covid-19 relief efforts.
Thai Seed Trade Association holds GAM: Gallery
Ministry of Ag eyes food exports, farm jobs & loans
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is drafting 6 and 12 month export plans for food products, as a minister said the country is expected to fill large orders, while maintaining sufficient domestic stocks, reports the National News Bureau of Thailand.
The article also highlights that the ministry has made available 41,000 jobs for the Irrigation Department, and will continue to support the agriculture sector by dispersing loans through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, available until 30th November this year.
Thailand’s Department of Agriculture on March 23 published a link in Thai language providing links to ts services the analysis, inspection, quality certification for seeds and other agricultural inputs. Thai link here or see English language services contact information here.
Thai rice exports get boost
The COVID-19 scare has boosted Thai rice exports, reports Xinhua via Khao Sod English, citing Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association wha said : “The COVID-19 situation has led to many countries stocking up on food supplies, boosting orders for Thai rice, as reported by Xinhua, adding that rice importers worldwide want Thai rice shippers to deliver full orders immediately.
Enough food domestically
the Thaiger reports on March 26, citing the Ministry of Agriculture Economics that “… production of key agricultural products like rice, fishery products, meat products, palm oil, cassava, coconut and sugarcane will not be affected …”
Assistant agricultural minister quarantine, tests negative
Thammanat Prompao told reporters he would spend 14 days in self-quarantine after he came in contact with a man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain, reports Khao Sod English on March 16, and then on March 17 he announced he tested negative of Covid-19 reports The Nation Thailand.
Thailand preparing to join CPTPP:
The Kingdom is advancing towards joining the 11 nation bloc of 500 million people, reports Bangkok Post. According to another report from Bangkok Post, the IP chapter of CPTPP will oblige Thailand to join UPOV 1991, which is concerned with seeds and PVP.
Inside Maejo MJ greenhouses, bugs, overtime and 30$ seeds
THASTA engages members ahead of TIST 2020
The Thai Seed Trade Association (THASTA) is rallying its members across Thailand ahead of the Thailand International Seed Trade (TIST) 2020 expo, which is planned 19 to 21 August later this year at Central World in Bangkok. This will be the second year THASTA has organized TIST. Stand by for more updates on the expo. Meanwhile, THASTA announced that its 2020 General Annual Meeting is schedule 6 March 2020 in Bangkok. For more details, and to register (THASTA members and invitees only), email firstname.lastname@example.org
East-West Seed molecular plant pathology head an inspiration for women
To mark the 5th International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February, East-West Seed published an interview with one of its own lady scientists: Dr. Hatthaya Arunothayanan is East-West Seed’s Molecular Genetics Laboratory Manager and heads the company’s Molecular Plant Pathology program. In the brief interview, Dr. Hattaya explains exactly why gender is a non-issue in the world of science and research. Read it here. In related news, the official theme for the day was on “Driving Investment in Equality in Science, Technology and Innovation in the Digitalization Era for Inclusive Green Growth with special focus on Agriculture, Technology and Digital Economy”.
Former Head of UN Drug Board to Lead Thai Cannabis Corporation
Dr. Viroj Sumyai on February 14 was named President of the Thai Cannabis Corporation (TCC). Dr. Sumyai, a Thai citizen, recently completed his second term as elected President of the United Nations (UN) International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Prior to joining the INCB, Dr. Sumyai was Assistant Secretary-General of Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thailand legalized medical cannabis last year.
Lack of varieties; drought and stiff competition cited for Thailand slumping rice targets
In an interview featured on the Bangkok Post, the President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association cited a number of key factors for declining targets for Thai rice exports, this year set at about 7.5 million tonnes, and expected to rake in about $4.2 billion. If realized, this would be the lowest figure since 2013. Among the reasons slumping targets include stiff competition, higher production costs, widespread drought, volatile exchange rates, and the lack of varietal development in the past three decades. “Thailand has shipped the same rice varieties for 30 years and lacks rice variety development to deal with changing market demands and consumer behaviour,” said Charoen Laothamatas, The news was also covered by Khao Sod English, who quoted the director-general of the Foreign Trade Department as saying: “Thailand lacks diversity in rice varieties to compete in the world market … and so the Thai government has now set up a panel that includes representatives from the Rice Department, the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the Thai Rice Millers Association and farmers to develop soft-textured rice varieties to target global market.”
Driest conditions in four decades, says industry rep
According to a February 8 report by the Bangkok Post, this year’s drought conditions aflicting many parts of Thailand could be the driest in 40 years. That’s according to a sugar industry rep interviewed who said Thai cane and sugar output is anticipated to drop by 30% this year, which would have impacts on already-stressed global supplies. According to a February 25ุ report issued by Thailand Smart Water Operation Center water reserves nationwide as of February 25 stood at about 41,833 million cubic meters, or 55% of total reservoir capacity of 76,067 million cubic meters, with about 18,074 million cubic meters available for use (before critical mass is reached). The Indian Ocean Southwesterly monsoon typically starts to bring replenishing rains back to Thailand between May and July. In related news, to address the situation, the government is employing a number of measures to provide relief and/or assistance to farmers. Among the measures mentioned in an article by Bangkok Biz News include the distribution of rice and corn seeds to farmers.
DECEMBER 2019 & JANUARY 2020
Thailand calls for 2nd round of comments on proposed seed import conditions
Thailand has notified the World Trade Organization of revised import conditions proposed for capsicum, eggplant and tomato sowing seeds. Proposed conditions were initially announced last year and revised after an initial round of public and industry consultations. The latest draft conditions, which are concerned with testing and/or treatment of certain quarantine pests, can be downloaded via the following links:
APSA is cooperating with the Thai Seed Trade Association (THASTA) to contribute feedback on the proposed conditions. The deadline to submit comments on the latest draft conditions is March 8, 2020. For more information, please email May@apsaseed.org
Maejo University begins harvesting first of 12,000 Thai medical cannabis plants
77 Kao Ded Thailand reports on the occasion of commencing harvest of Thai medical-grade organic cannabis plants that have been cultivated on an ‘industrial’ scale in recent months. As reported by Asian Seed last year, medical cannabis was legalized in Thailand, andd Mae Jo university in Chiang Mai province had been authorized to lead government cultivation pilot efforts by planting 12,000 cannabis plants in automated and secured greenhouses spanning 3,040 meters. From the 12,000 planted seeds of a Thai variety identified as “Isara 1”, supplied via the Department of Medical Services, 6,000 to 7,500 plants turned out to be female, which were desired for their high yield of resinous flowers, from which medicine will be extracted. The harvesting of mature plants, expected to extend untill the end of February, is expected to yield a total of 10 tonnes of fresh flower, from which one tonne of dried flower will be supplied to partner institutions (Government Pharmeceutical Organization, Khon Kaen University and Mahidol University), hospitals and clinics for both research and distribution to registered patients.
In related news, the Thai cabinet late in January 2020 gave the green light for Thai citizens to cultivate “hemp” non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis. According to this Thai language report by Daily News, the cabinet will later formally announce the new regulation that effectively removes non-psychoactive Thai hemp varieties from narcotics classification and makes it possible for ordinary citizens to obtain a permit to cultivate “Thai government authorized” hemp varieties on no more than one rai (1,600 square meters) per household.