Thailand aims to become an international hub for the production and export of herbal products and cannabis/hemp-based medicines, to boost revenues for farmers and the country, said Deputy Government Spokesperson Dr. Rachada Dhnadirek on Sunday.
To achieve this ambitious target, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has already launched a project for the mass cultivation of herbal plants in 37 plots, covering 1,269 hectares in 22 provinces and involving over 1,500 growers. Herbal plants will also be grown in over 8,000 hectares of land belonging to farmers’ cooperatives and community enterprise groups.
It has been agreed by the farmers and state agencies that the harvested herbal plants will be processed at the nearest production facilities, such as the Chaophraya Abhaibhubejhr, Pana, and Trakarn Puetphon hospitals.
Dr. Rachada said the Agriculture Ministry also plans to persuade farmers, in Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong, which are incorporated in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) megaproject, to grow herbal plants and high-value crops to boost their incomes.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Public Health has set a target to turn Thailand into a hub for the production and export of cannabis and hemp-based medicines, in cooperation with the private sector and specialized state agencies, such as the International Medical Cannabis Research Centre.
She said that medical cannabis has been used in various countries in different forms to treat illnesses, muscle contraction, fatigue, loss of appetite, and so on.
She said that the global market value of herbal products and spices is estimated at about US$10 billion, or 300 billion baht, whereas, in Thailand, the market value is about 5 billion baht.
Potential markets for Thailand’s hemp and cannabis-based products are the European Union and the United States, which will account for 80% of global demand. Thailand’s share of the market in the next three years may be worth about US$660 million.