BANGKOK: Malaysia is interested in learning from Thailand in the agricultural sector, particularly in the areas of white shrimp farming (vannamei white shrimp) and durian cultivation, as part of efforts to deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Agricultural Counselor at the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok, Hairuddin Maslan, stated that Thailand – especially the Surat Thani region in southern Thailand – is a major producer of the (vannamei) white shrimp, durian, and palm oil.
Surat Thani is the largest producer of white shrimp in Thailand, with an annual production of 50,000 tons – successfully penetrating the markets of the United States, Japan, and China. Currently, there are 603 shrimp farmers in Surat Thani.
“The Surat Thani region has great potential in shrimp farming. Malaysian investors and entrepreneurs can collaborate and expand their operations to Surat Thani.
“Shrimp farmers in Surat Thani are ready to share expertise and knowledge, including compliance with Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP) and information to control shrimp diseases with Malaysia,“ he told Bernama.
Moreover, Hairuddin mentioned that Thailand’s success in developing the agricultural sector through the involvement of local communities can be emulated and applied in Malaysia to boost the country’s agricultural sector.
To ensure high-quality shrimp, Hairuddin stated that the Surat Thani Fisheries Department collaborates with local associations such as the Surat Thani Shrimp Farmers Club and the Kanchanadit district Shrimp Farmer Cooperative to develop, monitor, and supervise farming activities.
“In addition, the ‘Shrimp Day’ (programme) is held annually. It serves as a platform for sharing information related to shrimp farming, such as disease control, the latest technology, production improvement, and marketing, with shrimp farmers in the region,“ he said.
Meanwhile, Hairuddin mentioned that the Chairman of Durian Mega Farm, Siri Haosakul, welcomes Malaysian durian entrepreneurs to collaborate in the exchange of technology and the latest farm management practices to develop the durian industry.
“Durian growers from Malaysia and Thailand can share experiences and marketing techniques to penetrate wider markets,“ he said.
The Durian Mega Farm in Surat Thani involves about 100 families planting durian on a 249-hectare area, which is expected to produce 900 tons of durian each season.
Hairuddin mentioned that the farm engages the community, providing durian growers with exposure and guidance in cultivation and marketing management.
“Each grower is also assisted in obtaining Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification to ensure that the fruits produced will penetrate both the local and export markets,“ he said.
To encourage the younger generation to enter the field of agriculture, Hairuddin mentioned that Malaysia can emulate the Surat Thani Young Smart Farmers initiative, which has successfully produced many young farmers.
He said the Surat Thani Young Smart Farmers initiative, with 350 young farmer members, was introduced by the Thai Department of Agricultural Development to encourage youths to participate in agriculture by incorporating technology into farming.
“Malaysia can emulate this initiative to attract the interest of the younger generation in the agricultural sector and develop young farmer communities in Malaysia,“ he added.–Bernama