Main Article Content
A group of 15 farmers in the Baan Thung-Khaam, Nan province, raised 37 sows to produce piglets for fattening. Finishing pigs are traditionally sold to middlemen, who decide pricing and sometimes force the price down. Like most Thai smallholders, this group of pig producers did not have entrepreneurship skills or the possibility to process pork for high-value products. The farmers tried to market the fresh pork themselves, but due to a lack of basic marketing know-how they encountered problems such as how to sell fresh pork daily. A research team was formed which consisted of lecturers, a veterinarian, an animal husbandry technical officer and students from the School of Agricultural Resources, Chulalongkorn University. The objective of this study was to create additional marketing outlets for fresh pork produced by the Baan Thung-Khaam farmer group. At the request of the famers a study was initiated which focused on encouraging farmer participation and boosting their development. Various activities were conducted, such as data collection, farmer relationship management, focus group discussions, farm visits, improving butchering hygiene, buying new machines or equipment, organizing training courses for farmers to improve pork cutting skills, establishing a community enterprise of swine farmers and brand development. After improving product quality, hygiene and processing, the group was able to sell fresh pork and other products to the provincial hospital and other new customers. “Moo Yim Thung-Khaam” or “smiling pig of Thung-Khaam” became the brand name for the farmer group and it has allowed customer recognition of the products. The farmer group was organized into a small community enterprise. This project had an impact on the socio-economics of the farmers and the community. Farmers earned more income from pig production. Development networking was established and young farmers started to participate in the group.