For Doi Kham, carrying on the late King Bhumibhol’s legacy in sustainability lies at the heart and soul of its mission to improve the lives of Thai farmers and their communities.
Thailand is famous for its abundance of fruit and products made from fruit. In 2016, the country exported US$741.7 million’s worth of juice, an 18.3% growth compared to the previous year.
Doi Kham was established under a royal initiative project of His Majesty the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej in 1969 as a social business, selling processed food products in order to improve the quality of life of farmers and their communities. Today, Doi Kham operates factories in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Sakonnakon and Buriram that buy fruit and vegetables from thousands of farmers in several hundred villages to produce ready-to-drink fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates, dehydrated fruit, fruit spreads, canned fruit, tomato paste, frozen fruit and soya powder.
“Everything we put into our products comes from natural ingredients,” says Pipatpong Israsena, president and chief executive of Doi Kham Food Products. “Every drop of juice that reaches consumers is made with the dedication of our farmers.”
Product quality comes first for Doi Kham, with the company paying farmers slightly above the market price for produce to ensure it gets the best fruit and vegetables, adds Israsena. The company was also awarded the Thailand Trust Mark (or T Mark) from the DITP, which is a symbol of quality and excellence, especially in terms of labour, social responsibility and the environment.
“Doi Kham cares deeply about the environment. We installed a water treatment system and we also initiated a project to ensure that water sources are kept clean,” says Israsena. “Recently, we’ve also installed solar roofs at the factories to produce electricity. Even our office building in Bangkok received a gold-rating LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) verification which means it’s resource efficient, using less water and energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
With a firm hold in its home market, Doi Kham is now expanding to other Asian countries and territories, such as Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and China, without losing focus on its goal of giving back to society.
“In a hundred years, I want Doi Kham to become one of the legacies of the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej,” says Israsena. “People often question whether sustainability can be put into practice and Doi Kham is the proof that a company can be profitable whilst maintaining its principles in helping farmers and their communities create a better quality of life for themselves through agriculture.”
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub