On 10 September 2018, Dr. Somvong Tragoonrung, BIOTEC Executive Director and Mr. Somchai Witdumrong, Nakhon Phanom Governor participated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations to employ science, technology and innovation (STI) to enhance the production of raw herbs, herbal products

and traditional medicines throughout the value chain in Nakhon Phanom Province. The project aims to improve the quality and productivity of herbal plants, as well as upgrade the manufacturing of herbal products to meet industrial standards.

The Thai Government places an emphasis on developing Thai herbs and is seeking to add higher value to them by processing them into medicine, food supplements, and health products. Thailand’s first Master Plan on Thai Herbal Development, 2017-2021, sets the roadmap for Thailand become a leading exporter of raw materials for herbal production and herbal products in the ASEAN region.

Plant factory system offers efficiency to crop production and resource consumption. Additionally, it can enhance crop quality such as enrichment in vitamins, anti-oxidants, and bioactive compounds. The system is therefore highly suitable for high-value crop such as herbal and medicinal plants.

In this collaboration, BIOTEC will be introducing plant factory system to herb farms in Nakhon Phanom Province and upgrade the herbal production system. Herbs produced in this province are supplied to community enterprises and Renunakhon Hospital, a major hospital in Nakhon Phanom Province that manufactures traditional medicines for using in the hospital and distributing to sub-district health promoting hospitals in Nakhon Phanom and nearby. As the demand of traditional medicines used in the hospitals is on the rise, plant factory system will enable herb production to meet the industrial demand.