December 24, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Kalaphruek Room 7, 2nd Floor, Sirikunakorn Building, Office of the President – the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University held a meeting under the project that links Thai agricultural industry with the industrial sector towards the new economy and trading, the case of alternative protein from crickets. Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over the meeting and welcomed the delegation from the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPS) led by Miss Oranuch Wannapinyo, a Senior Professional Trading Officer. Represetatives from Khon Kaen University included Prof. Phewpan Maleewong, M.D., Assistant to the President for Research and Graduate Studies; Assoc. Prof. Rangsan Niamsanit, Director of the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University, and the administrators and officers of the institute.
Assoc. Prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said in his opening address that the Food and Drug Organization of the United Nation or FAO sees the importance of crickets as the protein source for the future. Khon Kaen University has been among the first institutions in the country to conduct research on crickets. Prof. Dr. Yupa Hanboonsong and many other professors have conducted research on crickets and the work has been accepted internationally. Then in 2019, the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University was subsidized by the Thai Science and Research Institution Board (TSRI) and the National Research Council to carry out a project called, “Development of Cricket Farmers in the Northeast towards Standard and Safety Production System”. The cricket farmers at Ban Saen To, Buayai Sub-district, Nam Pong District, Khon Kaen have been promoted and 23 farms have been certified as standard cricket farms from GAP, from the 44 cricket farms all over the country.
In the next session, Mr. Anuwat Srisawat, the team leader of the “Development of Cricket Farmers in the Northeast towards Standard and Safety Production System” project presented the project implementation to the participants in the meeting. His presentation could be summarized as follows: Overall, the world market of edible insects is able to grow at 26.5% in 2020 with the value amounting to 3.42 million baht. In 2019, the export of edible insects of Thailand reached 2,161 million baht, with US importing our product mostly. There are 171 cricket enterprise groups, 14 being in Khon Kaen. 23 cricket farms in Khon Kaen have been certified in terms of GAP standard, out of 44 cricket farms in the country. With the assistance from the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University, the participating enterprise groups comprise the groups in Khon Kaen, Phu Wiang District, Ban Nonsawan, Village No. 5, Cricket Farming Group from Village No. 4, Chum Phae District, the Khon Khon Malang Enterprise Group, Insect Farming Community Enterprise, Ban Non Lan Economy Group, Non Sa-ad Sub-district, Chonnabot District, Ban Tha Khoy Cricket Farming Group, Ban Non Saen Suk Cricket Farming Group, Nam Pong District, Ban Saen To Sufficiency Economy Group, On-son Cricket Farming and Manufacturing of Ban Non Chuak, Cricket Farming Groups at Villages No. 13 and 9, Bua Ngoen Sub-district, Muang District, Ban Na Piang Cricket Farming Group, Samran Sub-district, Ban Khon Tha Cricket Farming Group, Nong Toom Sub-district, Phra Yuen District, Ban Nong Pho Cricket Farming Group, Village No. 8, Ban Han Economy Insect Farming, Phon District, Ban Sading Khu Khad Cricket Farming Group, Village No. 12, Kalasin, Yang Talad District, and Ban Hong Hee Cricket Farming Community Enterprise.
Assoc. Prof. Rangsan Niamsanit, Director of the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University added that in addition to assisting the farmers on site, the institute has supported in terms of designing 12 types of products made from crickets, which include health foods and snacks. A group of students from MBA of Khon Kaen University have matched business partners with interested entrepreneurs. It has to be admitted, however, that the farmers still lack the tactics in operations and in the access to investment sources, which partly arise from the official regulations and the fact that the farmers themselves still do not see the importance in developing their farms to reach the GAP standards, for this involves a high cost.
Nevertheless, it was a good chance that Khon Kaen University and the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPS) discussed together and established the channel that links the farmers with the Thai industrial sector. This will lead to the country becoming the center of producers of alternative protein from crickets. Khon Kaen University, in this respect, possesses the knowledge, the research findings, and personnel with expertise ready to support the implementation with TPS. It is hoped that after the meeting, the work will progress concretely. The cricket farmers who are interested to join the network with the Strategic Research and Coordination Institute for the Northeast Development of Khon Kaen University can contact the institute at Tel. 0 4320 2167 or:
News: Chutinan Panjarung
Photos: Atthapon Hampong