The Thai agricultural sector stands at a crossroads.
While marketing itself as the ‘Kitchen of the World’ and an important exporter of agricultural produce, issues such as decreasing farm productivity, crop yields, and higher costs are confronting the broader industry.
Attempts by the Thai government to address these issues have met with mixed results. Its reliance on a grab bag of subsidies, protectionism, and half-hearted capacity building programmes, mean little is gained beyond short-term successes which quickly fade away.
Compounding this, the farm workforce is aging. A new generation of potential farmers are being turned off by low incomes and the lack of stable career prospects which are available in other industries.
Despite all this however – or perhaps because of it – a quiet revolution is taking place in Thai agriculture which is going some way to address these systemic issues. The lack of access to the Thai market during Covid has shielded the outside world from observing a new emerging breed of young Thai Agritech entrepreneurs looking to meet these challenges.
Representing a range of international industry, government, and multilateral clients over the past two years, CLC Asia has spoken extensively to key stakeholders involved in this grassroots change.
This included farmers, academics, civil servants and entrepreneurs across the beef, dairy, vegetable, seeds and fisheries sectors, as well as start-ups focusing on Thai Agritech and Fintech.
This briefing note provides a selected snapshot of our findings and observations over these two years – from how entrepreneurs are looking to shake up dairy farming to how indoor vertical farming may be about to take off in Thailand. The note wraps up examining one of leading Thai Agritech/Fintech start-ups looking to help farmers while dramatically increasing farmer productivity.
Chris Larkin is CLC Asia’s founder and managing director.
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