Farmers are being encouraged to produce bio-fertilisers and pesticides on their own in order to cut expenses on imported chemical products and promote healthier cultivation.
The cost of imported chemical fertilisers and pesticides has surged along with oil prices in recent years. Thailand paid nearly 99 billion baht for fertilisers in 2008 as fuel prices soared to US$147 per barrel.
Needed farm essentials can be produced in farmers’ backyards using only catalyst products developed by the Land Development Department, said deputy director-general Chalong Tepwituksakit.
“We now know the use of chemical substances is harmful not only to farmers but also the environment, as soil and water quality become degraded,” he said.
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Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) is partnering with IBM, FXA Group, and the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) to implement a global traceability program, allowing the country’s exports to be tracked from the retail level all the way back to the farm.
The pilot program, which will only apply to processed chicken and mangoes destined for export, will use smart sensor technology and traceability software to allow “all participants in the food chain” to access information on the products, including farm of origin, date of harvest, and temperature during shipping.
Last week, the initiative invited 600 farmers and food producers to use the new food-tracing software.
“As one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of livestock and agricultural products, we must improve our food safety standards to meet, or even exceed the global market’s requirement,” said Theera Wongsamut, Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives in an statement emailed to Food Safety News.
Read the full story at Food Safety News