Bangkok Produce PLC (BKP), a subsidiary handling with raw material sourcing for Charoen Pokphand Foods PLC or CPF, proceeds with the “self-sustaining farmers, sustainable corn” project with the fourth-year goals to generate sustainable income for farmers as well as reduce forest encroachment and the burning of corn stubble. The goals respond to the company’s policy to buy raw material only from plantation fields with legal land deeds and discourage farmers from burning the stubble, to tackle forest encroachment and air pollution problems.
Mr.Woraphot Suratwisit, Vice President, said BKP’s corn purchase policy highlights the traceability to the origin, to ensure that the plantation fields hold land deeds and must not be located in forest areas.
Complimenting this is the “self-sustaining farmers, sustainable corn” project which was launched in 2014 in cooperation with government agencies – the Agricultural Land Reform Office and the Department of Agricultural
Extension – as well as community leaders. Under the project, plantation knowledge and techniques are passed on to eligible farmers to raise output and quality while reducing fertilizer cost and preserving the environment.
These include zero burning of the corn stubble and zero forest encroachment in line with CPF’s sustainable sourcing policy, to ensure that the supply is not from environmentally-harmful areas.
Throughout the project period, BKP has partnered with local government offices, business partners and networked farmers in offering continuous training. During 2014-2018, the project involved more than 8,700 farmers and 225,700 rai of land in 25 provinces such as Nakhon Ratchasima, Loei, Saraburi, Phayao, Phitsanulok, Lampang and Uttaradit.
“This year, the project will be extended to new areas, to cover at least 1,000 new farmers. We are also set to raise the yield per rai, cut the production cost per unit and encourage large plantation fields,” Woraphot said.
Mr. Khong Ampha, a corn farmer in Ban Huay Mak, Tambon Phanokkhao, Phukradueng district, Loei, said that most of farmers in the area grow sugar cane, tapioca and corn. They suffered from cheap prices and earned very low income. However, since joining the project in 2017, they learnt that the yields could be raised if the stubble was not burnt. The techniques, which are not harmful to the environment, taught him to analyze soil nutrients and he consequently learnt that his land lacked phosphorus.
The techniques helped him save fertilizer cost. Though last year’s harvest did not meet expectation due to lack of rain, he learnt from rainfall data that the plantation and harvest cycle should be moved up. BKP also teamed up with Tambon Banlang municipality, and the district agricultural office in Nonethai district, Nakhon Ratchasima province, to launch “Banlang model”. Together, they encouraged the grouping of corn farmers and large filed management, whereby modern knowledge and techniques are adopted to ensure the quality meets buyer specification. Meanwhile, the supply of produce to feed mills is facilitated and paid for within a day.
Last year, farmers under this project supplied 20,429 tons of corn. The number of participating farmers has risen to 740 from 340 when the project was first launched. The project now encompasses a total of 30,000 rai of plantation areas. Success also encouraged farmers in other areas including Dan Khunthod, Phra Thongkham and Kham Sakaesaeng districts to apply the Banlang model, to achieve sustainable income.
“Farmers are equipped with the knowledge to meet agricultural standards and the Company’s sustainable sourcing policy. CPF’s supply is fully traceable to prove zero forest encroachment. Our motto – “no mountain, no burning, we buy” – will benefit all parties from farmers, the environment, community and the Company,” Mr. Woraphot said.