Thailand’s Organic Farming
Thailand is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers with about 150 million rais (24 million hectares), out the total area of 320.7 million rais (51.3 million hectares). According to the World Trade Organization, Thailand is the 7th largest exporters of agricultural products in 2015 with 2.3% of the world market share and valuing around US$36 billion. Striving to be a leading exporter in agricultural products, Thai government has promoted Thai farming to become the center of organic farming in ASEAN. To achieve the goal, many policies were launched to support and raise awareness about the side effect of agricultural chemicals, including promoting the benefit of organic farming on good living and health. One example of the activities is “Thailand’s Organic and Natural Expo”. The government’s strategic plan has started for many years and it aims to increase its organic products’ share in the world organic market by 10% per annum. Thailand’s annual organic-product export is about 4 billion Baht, out of the world market value of US$72 billion or 2.3 trillion Baht in 2016 with an average annual growth rate of 12.8%.
Thailand and International Organic Standards
Thai government has developed the national Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) for fresh fruit and vegetable (FFV). GAP accredited by Ministry of Agricultural and Cooperatives is to support Thai government policy of being a kitchen of the world. There are many international organizations supporting Thailand’s GAP development, for example, FAO/WHO on risk assessment knowledge implementation, HACCP, GMP and GAP on organic farming as well as manufacturing food safety, and GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) on a private standard from farm to shelf for retailers and suppliers in European market. Western GAP guideline has renamed to THAIGAP under the collaboration of various organizations in compliance to GLOBALGAP standard. Therefore, THAIGAP standard is a key to access global market. During 2004 to 2012, Thai Q GAP (Q stands for quality) was actively implemented supporting system for Thai farms such as service of inputs, farm advisors and third party certifiers for GLOBALGAP/THAIGAP.
“Organic Thailand’s Brand” is an organic certificate provided by Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agricultural and Cooperatives. Organic agriculture is defined as a holistic agricultural production and management system that supports ecosystems and biodiversity. Further, it avoids synthetic and non-animal raw materials, or microorganisms derived from transgenic techniques (genetic modification) or genetic engineering. To maintain organic farming status and its quality, careful management must be applied in every production process.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has developed the IFOAM Accreditation Program since 1992 to provide accreditation services to organic certification bodies around the world. In 1997, IFOAM established the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS) to do its accreditation works. IOAS is registered as a not-for-profit company based in the USA.
Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand (ACT) received IFOAM accreditation from IOAS in 2001. ACT is the first certification body in Asia to get this recognition. The scope of ACT’s certification includes crop production, wild harvest, aquaculture, processing and handling, and commercial input certifications.
Operators certified under this program can use the ACT organic seal together with the label “IFOAM Accredited”. The ACT seal and IFOAM Accredited label must always accompany each other.