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Nov. 30, 2012

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Nov. 30, 2012
Continued farm expansion in Thailand, especially for rice, is expected to propel the fertiliser business of Terragro Fertilizer Co, a unit of Plantheon owned by tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.
The use of chemical fertilisers on various field crops including rice, rubber, maize, oil palm and sugarcane would reach 5.2 million tonnes in 2013, up from an estimated 4.9 million tonnes this year.
Managing director Vuttipong Vungsuntitum said the company would benefit from crop expansion, with sales possibly rising next year by 15% from about 480,000 tonnes this year.
The company's Crown brand fertiliser has a 10% market share after entering the sector three years ago.
Last year, chemical fertiliser imports stood at 5.2 million tonnes, but the floods last year caused the amount to dip to 4.9 million tonnes. Thailand imports all of its chemical fertilisers.
The Office of Agricultural Economics reported the rice pledging plan enlarged rice plantation to 69.5 million rai for the 2012-13 season, up from 66.7 million rai before the scheme began.
Strong sugar prices in recent years also resulted in higher plantation of sugarcane, with the total area estimated at 8.45 million rai for the next crop, compared with 8.08 million rai this year.
The office added the use of chemical fertilisers has been increasing every year, despite ministry efforts to promote the use of biofertiliser to protect farmers' health and soil quality.
Fertiliser accounts for 18% of the cost of production for the main rice crop, 16% for the second crop, 21% for maize, and 41% for palm oil.
In Thailand, chemical fertiliser accounts for 95% of the total used by growers. The balance is organic and biofertilisers. Farmers believe chemical fertilisers are necessary for crops to grow quickly, driving their growth.
Compound chemical fertiliser or NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) may offer a higher crop yield compared with biofertiliser.
Several manufacturers have joined the lucrative market, estimated at 65-70 billion baht a year.
Yesterday Terragro introduced a new premium bulk-blended fertiliser to strengthen the company's market position. Dubbed the TIP brand, its ingredients are sourced from leading manufacturers in Kuwait, Russia, Belarus and Japan, said Mr Vuttipong.
He projects sales of TIP at 70,000 tonnes next year, with a 20 million baht marketing budget set aside for the brand.
Besides the robust local market, Terragro also plans to export about 20,000 tonnes of fertilisers, mainly to neighbouring countries.
Source: Bangkok Post

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