Experts from Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, which is co-hosting this year’s Agritechnica Asia exhibition, have predicted that machinery uptake in the country is set to increase due to potential labor shortages and a subsequent growing need for mechanized farming solutions. This is in line with a recent DLG-Agrifuture Insights survey that found nearly 75% of Thai arable farmers were planning farm investments during the next 12 months. Against this background, Agritechnica Asia, and its co-show Horti Asia, are perfectly timed – August 22-24, 2018 – to offer farmers in Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries with similar growing conditions, the opportunity to choose the right equipment to secure the future of their farming operations.
At a press conference held in Bangkok on June 8, Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives said it recognized that although the country currently boasted a robust agricultural sector and remained competitive in global export markets, expected demographic shifts would require more efficient and streamlined production methods going forward in order to keep Thai farmers profitable. A future shortage of workers in Thailand’s agriculture sector could develop into a long-term challenge and a significant increase in mechanized farming practices was required to enhance labor capacity and increase efficiency, and secure continued production of agricultural products and food in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Thailand is keen to support the adoption of mechanized farming in the country because it will not only help solve the labor shortage by making the workers that remain much more productive, it will also ensure greater stability in the quantity and quality of production, leading to better and more stable incomes for farmers. To support this transition, the Ministry signed an agreement with the organizer of Agritechnica Asia, the DLG (German Agricultural Society) to become co-host of the event. The technical program at Agritechnica Asia 2018 will now benefit significantly from the support of the Thai government, and even more emphasis will be put on topics and solutions tailored to local farmers shift to a new era of farm mechanization.
Dr. Dares Kittiyopas, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Agricultural Extension, told at the press conference held in Bangkok on June 8 that her department was committed to enhancing and developing Thai farmers' production capacity. “They will be able to rely on themselves in a sustainable way, have a good quality of life, use technology and innovation and have a stable income,” she adds. “Agritechnica Asia will be very beneficial to farmers because they can learn about the latest innovations and see new agricultural machinery on display. This will help them prepare to step into the new era of farming where machines can replace manual labor as the main means of agricultural production.”
The Thai Department of Agricultural Extension and the organizers DLG and VNU are jointly organizing guided tours at the Agritechnica Asia trade fair to present mechanized farming innovations to farmers and interested staff. More than 1,000 Thai arable farmers and provincial officers from the Department will also be invited to attend the event.
Farmers in Thailand already appear ready to invest in their farms; according to a DLG-Agrifuture Insights survey, conducted earlier this year in 13 countries, 75% of arable farmers in the country are planning investments over the next 12 months. “The mechanized technology solutions available to farmers in South-East Asia today are at a level where mechanization can take place in the region very quickly,” says Dr. Klaus Erdle, DLG Division Manager Plant Production and Field Operations. “There are mechanical solutions available at prices that meet virtually any budget, and farmers from Thailand and South-east Asia that visit Agritechnica Asia 2018 will be able to find the answers to their farming problems.”
Typical of the machines and systems that will be on display later this year are the MT3E Series tractors from LS Tractor of South Korea. With direct injection engines that provide outstanding power and fuel efficiency, these light and slim machines offer productivity and durability and are suitable for agricultural work in paddy fields. Meanwhile, the Delfino Super power harrows from Maschio Gaspardo of Italy are built to satisfy the needs of small- and medium-sized farms, with models available that require from just 40hp. Compared to conventional rotary tillers, these machines offer lower power requirements (leading to fuel savings), higher working speeds and don’t create soil pans when forming seed beds. And Turkish manufacturer Celikel will be exhibiting products including its Row Independent Maize Chopper that can be used for chopping various feed plants, forage and corn using power inputs as low as 75 hp.
Dr. Pisut Paiboonrath, from Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), said it was clear a new generation was becoming more interested in farming as the industry modernized. “This is good news,” he added. “It provides an opportunity for technology researchers and policymakers to change mindsets and work together to specify the new direction of agriculture in the country to realize the dream of becoming a globally important food producer.”
The Chairman of the Advisory Board of DLG International GmbH, Mr. Peter Grothues, said that Agritechnica Asia would provide a forum to gather technologies and innovation on farming machines from across the world. “It will be the perfect opportunity for visitors to meet and exchange knowledge with international experts in agricultural technologies, and share information through seminars and research work,” he added.