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Marketing Organic Produce

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Is there an institutional wholesale buyer to sell our organic produce, or should we continue to pound the pavements of Chiang Mai selling retail one customer at a time?

Also. any suggestions on the best place to sell our organic sticky rice after harvest in June (about 1.5 tonnes)?

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The Rim Pings super markets advertise and sell organic produce. They might be a place to start.

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Hey there name in a question how it is? The word out and about now is "niche" and I always equated it to "road-side stand" farming. The guys I've seen making it (that weren't guys that inherited 1/3 of grandpappy's 8700 acres of Sacramento Delta black bottom land) are able to fill (?) a "niche" in the market and it definitely seems to be where you can sell part of your crop at near retail prices. Is that going to be new cleaned rice or paddy you want to sell? If you have some small retail buyers now, hopefully you can get some more retail sales from them and possibly ask them to commit to some more purchases later on when you clean some more paddy. Restaurants may be a good place to try to get some small discounted retail purchase with the hope of larger future purchases if they find it is satisfactory or better than what they are currently using. You are looking to try to sell about 100 kilos a week for the next half year I would imagine, but I'm sure there are times when you wished you could sell it all one time and get a good price. We have a leased farm and the father-in-law needed cash so he sold off the entire farm shortly after harvest and we got 13.7 baht or something like that. It is Hom Mali but not in organic conversion like our other two farms but still at 13.7 you are miles from 17 guaranteed (you store it) that he got last year. The 3.3 baht difference is nearly 25% of your sale price and could be almost equal to 100% of your profits (yuk yuk in past years that could get close to just breaking even on your costs). We have never developed a market (retail or wholesale) for our rice and since there isn't any available (not yet) organizations in this area of Thailand (Burriram Dept of Ag a complete strike-out) to certify our 40 rai of farms as organic there are constraints we will need to resolve. All our rice is sold on the open market but tons of it is used for our extended family's consumption, trade and seed stock for planting our and other farms.

What this rambling is trying to say is sure you can sell all your rice next year all at once but you have the ability, with a very manageable 1500 kilos of stock, maybe to be able to look at alternatives to dumping all your stock if you can't get the price you want. The key to selling organic is to be certified. If so, then you will surely be in some form of a program that promotes "sustainability" as that is the essence of modern day organics. Anyone who is willing to put themselves through the three year process to certify is someone whose labeled product is going to hold much more faITH from consumers in the market (wait all you lunatics (yeah the knuckleheads who dern near say they'd eat human faeces before organic wowww) that will jump in and say there are no guarantees that this guy wouldn't spray his stuff with chems two days before harvesting to save the entire crop. There aren't, never will be, but it will be an extremely rare thing as the folks who certify generally are doing so as an economic decision, but just as importantly, as a "life-style" decision).

Oh yeah and that name thing i'd say "somewhere between mighty fine and getting better all the time''. Does that sound right? FFFFFFords FFFFForever

Edited by Foreverford

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Thanks for the 2 suggestions. Can anyone answer the following?

Is there an institutional wholesale buyer to sell our organic produce, or should we continue to pound the pavements of Chiang Mai selling retail one customer at a time?

Hey there name in a question how it is? The word out and about now is "niche" and I always equated it to "road-side stand" farming. The guys I've seen making it (that weren't guys that inherited 1/3 of grandpappy's 8700 acres of Sacramento Delta black bottom land) are able to fill (?) a "niche" in the market and it definitely seems to be where you can sell part of your crop at near retail prices. Is that going to be new cleaned rice or paddy you want to sell? If you have some small retail buyers now, hopefully you can get some more retail sales from them and possibly ask them to commit to some more purchases later on when you clean some more paddy. Restaurants may be a good place to try to get some small discounted retail purchase with the hope of larger future purchases if they find it is satisfactory or better than what they are currently using. You are looking to try to sell about 100 kilos a week for the next half year I would imagine, but I'm sure there are times when you wished you could sell it all one time and get a good price. We have a leased farm and the father-in-law needed cash so he sold off the entire farm shortly after harvest and we got 13.7 baht or something like that. It is Hom Mali but not in organic conversion like our other two farms but still at 13.7 you are miles from 17 guaranteed (you store it) that he got last year. The 3.3 baht difference is nearly 25% of your sale price and could be almost equal to 100% of your profits (yuk yuk in past years that could get close to just breaking even on your costs). We have never developed a market (retail or wholesale) for our rice and since there isn't any available (not yet) organizations in this area of Thailand (Burriram Dept of Ag a complete strike-out) to certify our 40 rai of farms as organic there are constraints we will need to resolve. All our rice is sold on the open market but tons of it is used for our extended family's consumption, trade and seed stock for planting our and other farms.

What this rambling is trying to say is sure you can sell all your rice next year all at once but you have the ability, with a very manageable 1500 kilos of stock, maybe to be able to look at alternatives to dumping all your stock if you can't get the price you want. The key to selling organic is to be certified. If so, then you will surely be in some form of a program that promotes "sustainability" as that is the essence of modern day organics. Anyone who is willing to put themselves through the three year process to certify is someone whose labeled product is going to hold much more faITH from consumers in the market (wait all you lunatics (yeah the knuckleheads who dern near say they'd eat human faeces before organic wowww) that will jump in and say there are no guarantees that this guy wouldn't spray his stuff with chems two days before harvesting to save the entire crop. There aren't, never will be, but it will be an extremely rare thing as the folks who certify generally are doing so as an economic decision, but just as importantly, as a "life-style" decision).

Oh yeah and that name thing i'd say "somewhere between mighty fine and getting better all the time''. Does that sound right? FFFFFFords FFFFForever

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Getting easy access to markets here is like getting a good road map. Causes statements like, "Where the heck are we?". Wasn't that the name of a (TV) Indian tribe way back when? Arh yes, F Troop!

Cant help with a name but suggest if you hunt down the woman in Chiang Mai who heads up the national organic certification scheme, she may be able to help. Watersedge gave her details some months ago, she apparently speaks English. Sorry dont have the number to hand.

From my experience selling to restaurants direct is a good way to go. I have taken a ton down to Bangkok in the past and sold it in 50kg lots in a day or so. Mind you i was living there at the time so I didnt make a special trip. We got very close to retail prices even at that quantity because the rice was freshly milled and wasn't full of weevils. One guy suggested he didnt mind the weevils but preferred them bagged separately.

Isaan Aussie

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From my experience selling to restaurants direct is a good way to go.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh. You are doing a lot of posting about organic and certified organic here, yet I see you are not certified, choose explicitly not to farm organically, and instead came up with your own set of standards somewhere between because they make economic sense in your situation. I hope you are not giving buyers the impression they are getting organic especially since they might pass such misleading information on to their customers. Organic is a binary yes/no and getting certified is a good litmus test. As a consumer, I see too many people claiming organic in this country for products that aren't so it is good to see certification is rising in prominence and I suspect serving that market is where the growth is going to be as Thailand develops and consumers become more educated.

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From my experience selling to restaurants direct is a good way to go.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh. You are doing a lot of posting about organic and certified organic here, yet I see you are not certified, choose explicitly not to farm organically, and instead came up with your own set of standards somewhere between because they make economic sense in your situation. I hope you are not giving buyers the impression they are getting organic especially since they might pass such misleading information on to their customers. Organic is a binary yes/no and getting certified is a good litmus test. As a consumer, I see too many people claiming organic in this country for products that aren't so it is good to see certification is rising in prominence and I suspect serving that market is where the growth is going to be as Thailand develops and consumers become more educated.

No Canopy it is not harsh I compete agree with your view. I am attempting to achieve full organic produce but have never claimed to have achieved it. Not to anyone. I do use the accepted term natural however. Whilst I have never deliberately mislead a customer, misunderstanding are possible. If I've caused any I humbly apologise.

If you read the organic guidelines here you will find them more tolerant of substances that are permitted. Getting certified here is like most things, subject to interpretation. I do not see it as black and white in Thailand, not yet.

Let me ask you a question, a local co-op produces organic fertiliser from farm wastes but they use rabbit brand pelletised Urea as the nitrogen source. Their product is certified. Whats your view of that?

Isaan Aussie

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Let me ask you a question, a local co-op produces organic fertiliser from farm wastes but they use rabbit brand pelletised Urea as the nitrogen source. Their product is certified. Whats your view of that?

Seems you have found a fly in the ointment with that one. Organic standards define minimums, but there is no requirement to stop there. For instance, just because one is allowed to use up to 1KG of nitrogen per unit per season does not mean one must use that much, or even any at all. Urea is the same. As long as a substance is allowed per certification then growers should be free to choose it or not choose it. If a grower or consumer thinks strongly enough that urea should have no place in organic farming then the matter should be taken up with the certification department to get it removed. As for me, with the little I know about urea I would not use it, and if I find other world organic standards do not allow it then would contact Thailand's certification department to urge them to come into line. If other world organic standards also allow it I would like to know their reasoning as well as Thailand's. So overall my philosophy is follow open standards, deferring to experts to make the right specifications and then going beyond minimum standards as I see fit. It's sort of like building codes--build to specifications and exceed them in desired ways.

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We are a non-profit NGO organic training center. We don't have enough land to spend the money to get certified. We have been farming organically since 2007 and use open pollinated varieties. We invite customers, interested farmers, and potential customers to visit and observe our methods. The vegetables we sell help support our school. Check us at at - our website.. pm for details.

Edited by bina
urls of own websites against forumrules

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We don't have enough land to spend the money to get certified.

What type of certification would this be--Burma's or an international certification? And what is the certification cost?

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