Mitr Phol Group, Thailand’s leading sugar manufacturer, is currently supporting safe and environmentally-friendly production of agricultural goods, especially by biological methods for pest control to reduce the number of pests to the level in which damage will not occur and ecosystems are balanced. Doing so will result in sustainable pest management in sugar cane farms. Entitled, “Mitr Phol Modern Farm,” it guaranteed new ways of agriculture certified by the world standard of Bonsucro. The company also signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Agricultural Promotion for joint development and promotion of biological pest control in cane farms.
Mr. Khemkhaeng Yuttithamdamrong, the director general of the Department of Agricultural Promotion, said after signing the MoU with Mitr Phol’s sugar mill in Dan Chang sub-district, Suphan Buri province, that sugar canes’ diseases and pests were a major factor of decreased amount of cane in Thailand which resulted in economic loss to farm owners directly. Besides, the loss affects the overall economy of Thailand. The DAP, which encourages agriculturalists to use biological methods for pest control, already set up the Center of Agricultural Technology Promotion on Plant Safeguard (CATPPS) responsible for breeding and promoting natural enemies. At present, the CATPPS is introducing some of them, such as predators, parasites and over 14 pathogens. For example, earwigs can be used to control pests’ eggs and various pests like plant louses and worms; lacewings will kill plant louses; lac insects can kill pests’ eggs, especially eggs of worms; metarhizium fungus is used to control some kinds of worms found in sugar cane.
The major objective of the MoU aims to promote and encourage farmers to employ natural ways for pest control and knowledge sharing and management on sugar cane pest control. Under the MoU, the stakeholders can study and improve biological products for cane pest control and set a goal in which Thai farmers actively take part in pest management. All activities will be carried out by the center of pest management located in local communities and served as a hub on agricultural development and knowledge exchange. The center also breeds natural enemies for pest control by itself. Currently, in each district of all provinces, there are 2 centers and a total of 1,764 of them throughout the country. The centers also provide opportunities in information and knowledge exchange among personnel and create new knowledge on sugar cane pests with private sectors.
Mr. Buntoeng Vongkusolkit, the Director Vice Chairman of the Board of Executives to Mitr Phol Group, added that the company had a vision on mobilizing sustainability policy, especially agricultural sustainability. It encourages sugar cane farm owners to employ the Mitr Phol Modern Farm which emphasizes on use of agricultural machines and modern technology and management to increase products, reduce capital costs and save the environment. No chemical substances are permitted in cane farms, particularly Paraquat, Glyphosate and Chlorpyrifos, but biological methods is introduced for pest control and fresh cane cutting by harvesters is promoted.
In terms of ways towards modern agriculture to sustainability, cooperation for development and promotion of biological ways for sugar cane pest control, the DAP viewed that it was a good opportunity to encourage and share new, safe and green agricultural methods. The DAP and Mitr Phol Group will actively work together to disseminate information on environmentally-friendly pest control to local farmers as above-mentioned. Also, the two companies will develop knowledge to support sustainable agriculture which both reduces product costs and takes care of environment while upgrading standards of Thailand’s agricultural sectors, as well.
Mitr Phol has been supporting local sugar cane farmers in Thailand for a long time, especially in terms of financial aid and digital solution for management which simplifies a lot of processes and facilitates farmers to receive money to do sugar cane farming conveniently and quickly. Farmers can access to production factors faster via “Pluk Mitr” platform with TMB to strengthen safety on payment. Doing so will promote complete and effective sugar cane farming among Thai farmers.