Government support for OTOP items will continue
Pleased with the government’s success in initiating and
promoting the One Tambon, One Product (OTOP) scheme in both domestic and
overseas markets, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has vowed that his
administration will continue to support the community-based products to
ensure continued growth. It has been projected that the total sale of OTOP
items could reach over 100 billion baht over the next three years.
Referring to the impressive success of the recent trade
fair, ‘OTOP City’, aimed at showcasing locally-made products under the
government’s OTOP scheme, Thaksin said, “The growing sale of the
village-based products both in domestic and international markets reached
33.27 billion baht during October 2002-September 2003. This has surpassed
all government expectations.”
The Thai premier praised Her Majesty Queen Sirikit for
initiating royal projects supporting handicrafts and other products produced
by villagers, which inspired the launch of the OTOP scheme. He said that the
government’s support would include the introduction of modern technologies
to facilitate, and enhance production capacity and quality of OTOP goods,
namely the introduction of three-dimension computer software to improve and
develop designs of Thai cloth products, as well as the cooperation with
agencies and organizations in exchange of experts and transfer of knowledge.
Realizing the significance of younger generations as
powerful forces of the nation in the future, the Thai leader said that the
government would also encourage teenagers and youths to participate in the
OTOP scheme so that they would learn and appreciate traditional Thai arts
and cultures, and feel proud of using and publicizing Thai products. (TNA)
PM orders establishment of nanotechnology center
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has called for the
establishment of a nanotechnology center to boost Thailand’s
competitiveness. While giving the 5th Annual Shin Sophonpanich Memorial
Lecture on the future of the Thai economy, Thaksin said that the
establishment of free trade areas (FTAs) with numerous other countries meant
that Thailand now had to think on the offensive in order to expand its
markets and gain a competition edge. This necessitated the development of
both people and technology, in particular nanotechnology, which was
currently growing in strength, he said.
Predicting that in the future nanotechnology would lead
to materials that were one hundred times stronger than steel, but
considerably lighter, Thaksin said that nanotechnology would also lead to
the discovery of cures for cancer. He pledged that the government would
entrust the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) with
the establishment of a nanotechnology center, with nanotechnology experts
leaving their government paperwork aside to conduct full-time research.
SMEs to develop
The Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion
(SMEs) has declared its backing for the development of Thailand’s software
industry in the SME sector, according to the Office’s director Chanwit
Noting that the Office has 5 billion baht in funding to
develop Thailand’s industry capabilities, Chanwit said that the software
sector was one branch for which the Office was providing complete and
unconditional support. However, he stressed that anyone wanting to invest in
the software industry needed innovations with industrial potential, and that
requests for funding would have to be accompanied by clear business and
Requests for funding will be considered by the Office
within 60 days of the submission of documents, with the amount of money
granted ranging anywhere between one million and 100 million baht.
The Office meanwhile has pledged that it will not
interfere in the way in which software SMEs are managed, but will act to
check whether or not the SMEs are operating in accordance with their plans.
Specialist technology advisors will be on hand to give
suggestions, although their support will be withdrawn if a company’s
performance suggests that such advice is no longer needed. The Office has
also agreed to provide support for the mobilization of capital for listing
on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. (TNA)
Cabinet gives nod to 130 billion-plus stimulus budget
The Cabinet has approved a budget of 135.5 billion baht
aimed at stimulating the economy and providing compensation for civil
servants taking early retirement. Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
said that the budget had been divided into five parts.
The first part of 33.04 million baht has been earmarked
for civil service pensions, while the second part of 14.59 million has been
earmarked for early retirement programs. The third part of 16.57 billion
will be give over as compensation to state officials, the fourth part of 59
billion will be used to boost national competitiveness, and the final part
of 12.3 billion baht will be given to local administrative organizations.
The money will become available at the beginning of March
2004. The government hopes that the budget will act to ensure the continuity
of earlier economic stimulus measures, while helping civil servants who want
to take up new careers in the private sector.
Pledging that the government would not abandon civil
servants taking early retirement, Somkid said that career training would be
provided, and that the government would find sources of capital for
government workers wanting to leave the civil service to set up new
Rush to plant rice as prices soar
Farmers across the north and northeast of the country are
rushing to plant off-season paddy in the hope of gaining extra revenue from
rising rice prices, according to the Office of Agricultural Economics. With
off-season rice with 14.15 percent humidity now selling for 4,693 baht per
ton, up 206 baht on last year’s prices, farmers are trying to jump on the
But the Office of Agricultural Economics has warned that
by over-planting, the farmers could be doing themselves a disservice, with
insufficient water to meet the rising demands of cultivation.
The Office is advising farmers in the north and northeast
to cultivate soy beans during the dry season, as they need less water to
grow, and supply is currently running below domestic demand. In 2003
Thailand imported 1.856 million tons of soy beans, despite the fact that soy
beans are cultivated domestically. (TNA)
Thai cuisine rated 4th in world’s top five
For lovers of Thai classics such as ‘tom yam kung’,
‘phad Thai’ and som tam’, the international popularity of Thai food
will come as no surprise. In fact, Thai food is the fourth most popular type
of cuisine in the world, with over 6,000 Thai restaurants across the globe.
The announcement was made by an advisor to Deputy Prime
Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, during a tour of Los Angeles and New York,
where he presented ‘Thai Select’ certificates to US-based Thai
restaurants chosen for the excellent quality of their food and service.
Thai cuisine was rated among the world’s top five,
together with French food, Italian food, Japanese food and Chinese food.
A total of 45 US-based restaurants have now received
‘Thai Select’ certification. Of the restaurants selected, three are in
Chicago, six in New York, five in Miami, two in Atlanta, six in San
Francisco, three in Sacramento and 20 in Los Angeles. (TNA)
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