In order to promote Taiwan-Thailand agricultural cooperation and strengthen substantive exchanges between agribusinesses in the two countries, the Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives jointly held the “2021 Taiwan-Thailand Circular Agriculture Business Forum” on October 26. It is hoped that the Forum, whose main theme was “Bio Circular Green Agriculture for Regional Sustainable Development,” will lead to the joint creation of business opportunities in circular agriculture. The event was also intended to show support for Thailand’s “Bio Circular Green Economy” model (currently being promoted by the government there) and for Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (first put forward in 2016), with the goals of sustainable development of agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region and collective and mutually beneficial economic prosperity.
The forum brought together over 200 representatives of industry, government, and academia from Taiwan and Thailand (both in person and virtually). There was agreement that the two sides can strengthen bilateral cooperation in a number of fields. These include use of residual resources from agriculture to develop a variety of circular products. For example, Taiwan is focused on developing uses for banana fibers, granulated tea powder, primary fuel rods, and biochar, while Thailand has had great success researching uses for coffee grounds, durian shells, and banana peels. In the future the two sides can deepen cooperation in this area, and through cross-disciplinary applications can make textile trimming, pet products, cosmetics, and car interior design products. In addition, to introduce modern agriculture into remote rural communities, the two sides are building cogeneration processing factories that can provide solutions in the areas of food safety and raising incomes. As for animal husbandry, both parties proposed responsible production and consumption, environmentally friendly animal husbandry, and the transformation of waste into biogas for power generation or into fertilizer in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses and lower usage of chemical fertilizers, while also introducing smart precision management.
In his opening remarks, the Thai Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives said that national and regional economies have not been able to reach predicted development goals because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the Thai government will integrate policies to achieve a balance between the economy, society, and the environment. Thailand is currently actively promoting a model of sustainable growth through development of the Bio Circular Green Economy. Through applications of science and technology and innovative technology, they are promoting improvement of agricultural and food systems to build sustainable and safe production and consumption frameworks. He added that he trusts that this Forum would be an excellent opportunity for both the public and private sectors in Taiwan and Thailand to engage in discussions and exchanges on the various aspects of circular agriculture, and would promote the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food while providing businesses with opportunities for cooperation.
The COA states that in response to global weather anomalies and exhaustion of resources, governments around the world are using applications of agricultural technology as well as optimization and reuse of resources to actively promote circular agriculture, while at the same time creating new business models. Taiwan and Thailand have engaged in agricultural cooperation for many years and have accomplished a great deal. For this Forum, which was held as a result of a resolution adopted at the 7th Taiwan-Thailand Agricultural Cooperation Meeting, experts and industry representatives from both countries were invited to share ideas and exchange opinions on multiple issues including “equipment related to reuse of poultry excrement,” “use of smart dairy cow raising machinery and technology,” “packaging technology for instant coffee and tea” and “processing technology for waste from durians and bananas.” These discussions were based on the three main themes of “development and application of innovation,” “value-added reuse of residual resources from agriculture,” and “integrating smart technology to maximize production volume.” Taiwan was able, through the Forum, to introduce its related technology and equipment firms to Thailand, not only making it possible for Taiwan and Thailand to cooperate even more closely in circular agriculture, but also providing an opportunity for the two countries to deepen industrial and technological cooperation in the post-pandemic era.