Agriculture is a necessary and integral part of the government’s “Thailand 4.0” initiative. It is far more important as both a means and ends to Thailand’s economic and social development than is otherwise generally recognised.
Agricultural development is a solution to national and global sustainable development. However, agricultural development is not possible without sufficient and effective research.
Research can help reduce the cost of farming, increase productivity, improve quality, add new varieties, differentiate products, make new and more valuable uses of agricultural products and make renewable resources better substitutes for certain depleting resources.
Highly developed countries such as Singapore, Australia, France, the United States, Germany, Japan and Korea have invested as much as 2-4% of GDP in research. Among Asean members other than Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia invest about 0.89% and 1.08% of GDP in research respectively.
Meanwhile, Thailand invests less than 0.5% of GDP and only about one fifth of that is allocated for agriculture proper.
Human resource wise, Thailand has only 0.8 research personnel per 1,000 people compared with 1.97 per 1,000 in Malaysia. Given such a small number of research personnel, less than 8% of them are specifically in agriculture research.
There is the need for more investment in agricultural research and development as well as in development of agricultural research personnel in order for Thailand to realise its 4.0 plan.
The Agricultural Development Research Agency (Arda)
The Agricultural Development Research Agency (Arda) is a public organisation established in 1999…