HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Peaches, pears and plums preferable to poppies

“THAI cargo, Thai care” shown at Shanghai expo

THAI implements strategy to attempt to be the best in Asia

Peaches, pears and plums preferable to poppies

Peach Research at the Royal Angkhang Agricultural Station

Marion Vogt
Photos: Michael Vogt

His Majesty the King of Thailand in 1969 initiated and encouraged the cultivation of cash crops in the north, instead of opium. Cash crops can - and sometimes do - fetch higher prices than the illegal product.

A breathtaking view.

But to suddenly teach hill tribe communities, who lived for centuries on the cultivation of the poppy, to grow fruits which they had neither seen nor tasted before and which require so much more work, was not an easy task.

It must have been even harder to expect and introduce organic farming techniques to a slash and burn society that was still not 100 percent confident that this is healthier.

A long table, different kinds of plums, berries and peaches - eat as much as you can, but tell us which one you like best!

To make this a reality, His Majesty found another like-minded soul in HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, who became chairman of the Royal Project Foundation. Under his supervision, the area around Doi Angkhang really has become ‘amazing’ Thailand. Poppy fields have been replaced by peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, asparagus, avocados, persimmons and apricots. Even a kiwi fruit experimental plot is part of the agricultural station on Tanaosri Mountain, not even five kilometers from the Myanmar border and 160 km north of Chiang Mai (near enough for a Sunday trip)!

Miss Apple tries ripe juicy plums and finds them delicious.

During the cool months, the temperatures may drop to zero degrees Celsius and even during the almost unbearable hot season in Chiang Mai it is still cool in the evenings - thanks to an altitude of 1,400 meters.

The Royal Angkhang Agricultural Station is still experimenting in improving its fruits in texture, shape, color, and taste. And it is possible for you to become an ‘official fruit taster’ - tourists, local residents, men, women, children, Thais, foreigners, everybody is welcome. All you have to do is note down (on a scale from 1-5) which ones you like and which ones you did not. And you are allowed to come back and re-taste if you are not quite sure!

Of course there is the shop where you can get all the agricultural products as well as plants to take home.

Since the beginnings, up till today, the peaches have been improved in texture and taste. They can withstand transportation to local markets. And the Chiangmai Mail’s personal peach tester can assure you that the fruits are mouth wateringly delicious, the trip to the station more than incredible with the sights being like touring in the Alps and a Sunday trip is one of the most relaxing and peaceful experiences you can have.

“THAI cargo, Thai care” shown at Shanghai expo

THAI getting ready for expansion

The national Thai carrier, Thai Airways International (THAI), has participated in the Air Cargo China 2004 Exhibition. This event is a significant air transportation exhibition, which was established by Air Cargo Week magazine and is held every year. Shanghai was chosen this year as it is the largest business and industrial city in China. Last year’s exhibition was held in Munich.

The THAI cargo and mail commercial department presented a display booth and reported that more than 39,000 people from various organizations such as airlines and commercial mail businesses participated in the event on May 11-14 at Shanghai New International Expo Center. It was supported by The A-Z Group and Transport Logistic China.

Chanchai Singtoroj, managing director of the THAI cargo and mail commercial department, said that the main purpose of the exhibition was to show support for the Thailand and China free trade agreement.

THAI has also set up a booth at the new Suvarnabhumi Airport promoting the airline’s cargo and commercial mail department. At Suvarnabhumi, THAI has an international cargo area of 90,000 square meters, and during the first phase will be able to handle about 966,000 tons of air cargo annually. The handling capacity will expand to 1,226,000 tons a year by 2010.

There are plans to introduce a customs free zone to reduce the customs process and prepare Bangkok to be the cargo hub of Asia.

Today, THAI flies to seven destinations in China - Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and the newest destination Jinghong (Chiangrung). Thailand and China currently have strong air transportation potential, which will continue to grow for the next 20 years. In 2002, air cargo transport in China was over 16.2 billion tons, which ranked number five in the world and increases annually.

THAI implements strategy to attempt to be the best in Asia

Thai Airways International (THAI) recently held a commercial conference under the topic “We Go for the Best” at the Tide Resort, Bangsaen Beach, Chonburi. THAI’s management and general managers participated.

Kanok Abhiradee, THAI president, said that the conference aimed to establish the airline’s commercial strategies to achieve its “Towards Asian Leadership” objectives.

THAI president, Kanok Abhiradee, with Kobchai Srivilas, senior executive vice-president corporate planning and information technology services department; Suthep Suebsantiwongse, executive vice-president commercial department; management, and general managers.

Its mission, as discussed at the conference, emphasized the following:

* To increase revenue with a focus on premium customers and to target more premium customers at 30,000 annually worldwide.

* To establish precise measuring standards and to improve profitable routes by increasing weekly flights on routes in Europe such as London and Frankfurt, and in Asia such as Kolkata, Bombay, Guangzhou, Chengdhu, and Nagoya.

* To assure a full load on every flight.

* To drive business with seamless connections.

* To work closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to strengthen travel business. In this regard, the carrier’s president stressed that THAI’s general managers in its offices worldwide improve the working focal points towards a customer-oriented purpose, from agents to end-customers, with an understanding of their behavior.

A monthly sales report from each station should also be provided to Head Office for sales improvement. In addition, every general manager should keep in mind that showing initiative and being proactive by setting clear-cut objectives will bring about corporate strategies and aid the commercial department to work effectively.

THAI’s president also requested general managers to professionally control and manage internal operations with good governance, aligning the strategic planning with the government’s free-trade policy which will consequently make the airline competitive and drive THAI towards Asian leadership.

The conference included discussion on THAI’s total communications development over a 10-year period as well as a workshop including SWOT analysis (Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat) for the commercial department to aim towards further implementing the strategic planning and operation.