Hataikan KamolsirisakulHataikan Kamolsirisakul began her journey in the agriculture sector two and a half years ago when she joined Thai Wah as its Head of Strategy and Innovation. Since then, her role and involvement in the organisation have expanded to include Group Farm Development, a role she is most grateful for every day. It allows her the opportunity to be part of driving change in not only Thailand but the global agriculture industry. Since she could remember, her parents have always instilled in her gratitude for the farmers and for every grain of rice they put on the table and for never letting it go to waste. The closest she came to being exposed to farming before her current stint was during her food retail days. When the opportunity arose to join a growing agri-food company, she welcomed it as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make an impact from ground zero: the farmers and their farms.
Hataikan’s first visit to the farm and Thai Wah’s factory was in March 2019, in the upper North East of Thailand. She recollects speaking to three farmers, who were very hospitable and extremely willing to share their stories of daily struggles and achievements, for nearly four continuous hours. For example, Uncle Boon shared that his family has been farming for generations. Every day since he was a child, he has helped his parents in the field. His daily struggles are like most in the farming community: adverse impact through weather, crop diseases, the rising cost of land rent and farming, and the pressure from brokers and manufacturers. He desires a better life for his children and grandchildren. He believes that change as we know it will not happen overnight, but it will happen over decades of consistent effort. Conversations with hard-working people like Uncle Boon inspire Hataikan to accomplish more in the agri sector.
Notably, Hataikan also has an extensive professional background in consulting, trading, and software development in the industrial and retail sectors.
The pandemic had disrupted the global agri-food supply chain but was also a driver of digital adoption at all levels. What transformation have you witnessed, and what impact has it had on the supply chain?
One of Thai Wah’s fundamental principles is to relentlessly seek to create innovation and sustainability from Farm to Shelf better every day. As a 74-year old company, what has this journey been like? What innovations have the company embraced to improve the sustainability of the business?
Thai Wah has been quick to adopt modern technologies, which is evident from the fact that the company works with supplier farmers to pilot technologies like drones and satellite imaging and developing biopower plants to generate that can convert energy from byproducts. What tech trends do you foresee will phenomenally impact agriculture?
Agriculture is both a victim and a significant contributor to climate change. The recent IPCC report states that only strong and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can limit climate change. What major steps should the agricultural sector take to achieve carbon neutrality in the long term?
Is it possible for food processing companies to influence the farming practices of millions of farmers across countries by collaborating with them and driving more sustainable agriculture for the future?
What is your vision for agriculture in Thailand? How critical is technology’s role in achieving this vision?