Thai-Danish Milk Finds Edge

Amid growing public concerns about melamine-laced dairy products, Thai-Danish Milk Co is confident its 100% natural cow’s milk could have an edge in the local market, with strong growth expected next year.
    The company, owned by the state-run Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation of Thailand (DFPO), estimates sales revenue next year at five billion baht, up from over four billion baht projected this year, according to Ratana Aungsupakorn, acting director-general of the DFPO.
    She admitted that the melamine issue had had a critical impact on the dairy industry and it was hard for producers to avoid the crisis.
    “Our 45-year practice of using all natural milk without blending the product with powder has paid off and now become our strong point,” she said.
    The organisation, created in the sixtys with support from DANIDA, is a unit under the Agriculture Ministry, buys 350 tonnes of raw milk everyday from farmers to supply its five plants in Saraburi, Sukhothai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen. The facilities process a variety of dairy products such as UHT and pasteurised milk, drinking yoghurt, yoghurt and other dairy products.
    The volume accounts for 15-20% of the total raw milk used in the industry.
    The DFPO pays 18 baht a kilogramme to about 4,500 milk-cow farmers near the factories. The payment is the standard price and the farmers could earn more or less, depending on the milk quality.
    According to Mrs Ratana, the payment was adjusted up last year from 14.50 baht to reflect the higher expenses of farmers and to preserve dairy-cattle farming, an activity initiated by His Majesty the King in 1963 with the support of the Danish government.
    The milk is more than enough for Thai Danish Milk to process into 130 million litres a year and its capacity could increase when the purchase volume rises to 600 tonnes a day in the next two years.
    “The 100% natural cow’s milk is the core strength of our new marketing campaigns. We also add new products to wider target groups such as the youth and women,” she said.
    The new products include low-fat milk and modified milk that adds either vitamins, cellulose, or natural collagen. Smaller sizes are also being introduced such as 125cc to 150cc.
    She said that the DFPO also aimed to promote its farm areas of over 2,000 rai in Muak Lek as a key tourist destination in Saraburi province, as well as an education centre for cattle farming.
    The activities at the farm are more like “self entertainment”, in which visitors can learn how to milk and feed cattle, or join the yoghurt-making class, she said.
    “The activities are suitable for both nature-loving and adventurous travellers. There are no huts or resorts in our area. Only tents are offered to accommodate up to 300 tourists at a time.”
    The DFPO also provides full tour packages for visitors which include a walk rally, an ATV fun ride, milking and how-to courses, plus food and accommodation.
    “As a state agency, we charge visitors very little. For example, the full package of three days and two nights costs no more than 2,000 baht per person. Visitors are free to skip any programme and bring their own food to cut down the prices,” she noted.
    She added that tourism was not the core business of the DFPO but it would help attract visitors to Saraburi, which is only about 130 km from Bangkok.
    The organisation has just obtained five million baht from the province to improve its facilities to be a tourist information centre to help boost tourism during the Sunflower Festival.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *