Conference on Isan Crickets, heading towards another future food industry

Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development draws farmer network associates, governmental and private sector representatives to propel food cricket industry internationally” 

        July 21, 2020, 8:30 a.m., at Kosa Hotel, Khon Kaen – Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development (rISNED) held a conference of Isan Crickets towards another future food industry. About 100 officials, officers, representatives from state enterprises, new-generation farmer network associates and citizens joined. Assoc. prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University presided over the opening session and conveyed the opening address. 

        Assoc. Prof. Rangsan Niamsanit, Director of Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development (rISNED), Khon Kaen University conveyed the report speech: The conference is aimed at exchanging academic knowledge in domestic and foreign markets for alternative protein food from insects, with the emphasis placed on crickets. The conference covers the topics on the approach to support upgrading of cricket farmer group and enable them to enter the supply chain of the edible insect farming industry as well as exchange of relevant knowledge. The conference this year continues from last year which targeted the standardization of safe farms. The conference contributed to the building or perception of benefits from crickets that the International Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) already designated as a future food source. 

Assoc. prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University

        Assoc. prof. Charnchai Panthongviriyakul, M.D., President of Khon Kaen University said in his opening speech, “Khon Kaen University welcomes all of you to the second Isan Cricket Conference today. I thank the Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development for organizing the conference and I’m happy to see a lot of participants. It is clearly known that the alternative protein food from edible insects is very promising with foreign markets. Crickets have been eaten as food and farmers and Isan people are all familiar with them. Cricket farming is one of the indigenous bodies of knowledge that now meet the demand of the new market. It is a good opportunity to upgrade production and increase the competitive competence of the northeastern farmers in this regard. This will lead to value adding, increasing of continuous and sustainable income. We should therefore integrate the working process of the official sector, the academic sector, the cricket farming sector and the implementing sector in the food industry for mutual support from the upstream, midstream and downstream. This conference is the commencement of collaboration for such integration. Khon Kaen University is happy to support this mission and would like to invite academicians, governmental and private sectors, the industry Council and the farmer groups to join and cooperate in order to strengthen the food and agriculture sector according to the government policy. Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development has established the development project for the northeastern cricket farmers, with expectation to enter a safe and standard production system. The institute has been supported by the Agricultural Section of the Office of Thailand Science Research and Innovation Office, which at present, is under the National Research Council of Thailand from 2019 to 2021. Ban Saento area, Buayai Sub-district, Nampong District, Khon Kaen and Ban Honghee area in Yangtalad Sub-district, Yangtalad District, Kalasin are being used for the project. At present, 21 cricket farms in Ban Saento have been certified for the standard of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), the highest number of farms in Thailand. Ten more cricket farms here are applying for GAP certification. At Ban Honghee, 11 cricket farms are being improved to apply for GAP standard. The operations of the farms have been subsidized from under soft loans of the Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives. They had been supported to form into a community enterprise with appropriate administrative structure and system under the coordination and cooperation from different departments of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of the Interior and other governmental and private organizations in the area. This conference therefore aims at marketing issue and locating a mechanism for propelling the business to complete the supply chain, i.e., from upstream, midstream to downstream, with consumers and markets as the key targets. The northeastern farmers will be able to use the opportunity and their potentials in cricket farming to strengthen their aptitude and capacity. Today, we are honored to have the guest speakers who are high-level administrators with expertise and experiences in different fields, such as in trading and international marketing from Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and Ministry of Commerce; in farm management, value adding manufacture, from farmer groups, private sector, Thailand Industry Council, and universities who will present the growth of future food industry. 

Following the opening ceremony, there was a special talk on “The path towards the future food trading and industry” by Miss Natthiya Sujinda, Director of Office of Agricultural Product and Industry Promotion, Department of International Trading Promotion; a forum on “Future Food Industry: The future of Isan” by Mr. Rapeepat Chantarasriwong, Secreatry of Office of Agricultural Economy, Mr. Montree Mahapruekpong, Vice Chairman of Thailand Industry Council, Mr. Wisit Limluecha, Chairman of the Food Industry Group of Thailand Industry Council, Prof. Monchai Duangchinda, Ph.D, Vice President for Research of Khon Kaen University; with Assoc. Prof.Dr. Supawatanakorn Wongtanawasu acting as the moderator. The afternoon session featured a forum on “Isan Crickets: Knowledge and Lessons toward the Future Food Industry”, which was participated by Mr. Nopporn Tomee, DVM, from National Animal Health Institute, Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ms Lalalit Sukhonratanasuk, DVM, from Lalalit Agri Foods, Co. Ltd., Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siritorn Siri-amornpan, Head of Research Unit for Development of Health Food Manufacturing, Mahasarakham University; with Dr. Busakorn Leejeoiwara from College of Graduate Study in Management, Khon Kaen University being the moderator. Next was another forum on “From Local to Global: the Path of Crickets – Success or failure?” by Mr. Nontawat Bang-iam, Chairman of Kwanjai Farm Community Enterprise, Pitsanulok, Mr. Phet Wongtham, Chairman of Ban Saento Cricket Farm, Sufficiency Economy Group Community Enterprise, Miss Rujirek Noi-sngiam, Senior Policy and Planning Officer, Division of Food and Agriculture Standards, Office of National Food and Agriculture Standards; moderated by Mr. Anuwat Srisawat from Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development, Khon Kaen University. 

The conference was officially concluded and closed by Assoc. Prof. Rangsan Niamsanit, Director of Research Institute of Strategy and Coordination for Northeastern Development, Khon Kaen University.

 

News / Photos: Udomchai Supannawong

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