Tops drives Thailand’s economic sustainability following Central Group’s stable income

Event Calendar Press Releases Wednesday May 20, 2020 12:04
Bangkok--20 May--Polyplus PR

Central Food Retail Group, which operates Tops and Family Mart, a part of Central Retail, reaffirms the mission of the Central Group as proposed to the government to demonstrate its social responsibility and drive the economy sustainably through job creation and promoting stable income. Under this commitment, it has initiated “Direct Purchase from Farmers and Communities via Backhaul Logistic Project” which makes use of its strong logistic system to help farmers nationwide reduce their financial burdens on transport, while also optimizing energy and creating sustainability for both Thai farmers and Thailand’s economy amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Ms.Maytinee Phisutsinthop, Executive Vice President of Central Food Retail a part of Central Retail, revealed that the “Direct Purchase from Farmers and Communities via Backhaul Logistic Project” that it makes use of Tops’ strength in logistics management. Usually, after transporting goods to Tops stores throughout the country, trucks are empty on return trips as they come back to the distribution center in Bangkok. To help farmers and SMEs reduce their logistics cost and transport more goods, while also optimizing fuel, Tops utilizes its strength in logistics to offer assistance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. During this crisis, Thai farmers face many challenges, such as fewer outlets, difficulties in transporting their goods due to the curfew, export issues, and labor issues. This project will help fill the gap and solve problems for the farmers when and where they need it most.

Using backhaul to transport their goods is a great way to utilize Tops’ resources, knowledge and expertise is logistics. Its logistics system has temperature control to preserve the quality of the goods from their sources (farmers) to their destinations (consumers). The farmers who participate in this project will put their produce on Tops’ trucks as they make their way back to the distribution center. The produce will then be distributed to Tops stores. The amount of produce on each trip depends on the produce type, such as 5-6 tons of fruits per round or 2-3 tons of vegetables per round. So far, it was found that the project can help the farmers in many ways. 1) Reduced logistics cost: Farmers can ship a large amount of produce in a short time. 2) Reduced labor cost: Farmers do not have to hire help to take care of logistics. 3) Saving time: As the trucks go to them, they save time travelling and can spend more time on ensuring the quality of their produce. 4) Better income: They are able to transport more goods in each trip. 5) Lower risk for COVID-19: They don’t have to travel outside their province to transport their goods. Using backhaul also saves the environment as it makes the most use out of the fuel, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the farmers who participate in this project is Mrs. Saowanee Thongchew, who owns a durian, mangoesteen and longan orchard in Chanthaburi. She talked about her business and the benefits of participating in the project. “Initially, my orchard was named Rai Boon Mee, and it was established in my parents’ generation. I’ve run this orchard for 20 years now, and it occupies over 50 rai of land. We have durian, mangoesteen and longan trees. My children help me run the business, and they have helped modernize our way of working. We send our fruits to Khao Kitchakood Agriculture Cooperative to be sold at Tops, and we also have regular customers from a local market to help expand our distribution channels. With the COVID-19 situation, my business has been affected because of the travel restrictions which affect my workers. On top of that, the drought adds to my expenses as I have to invest in the irrigation system. My son has a degree in engineering and uses his expertise to help. We’ve invested in additional tools, which may be expensive but also effective. This is to ensure the quality of our fruits. My mangoesteen is known for the quality and delicious flavor, with white pulp, sweet taste, crunchy texture, thin shell and small seed. I am glad to see Tops’ trucks coming to pick up my fruits right at my orchard, as this helps reduce my expenses significantly.”

Next is a young farmer Mr. Suebtrakul Vanichsri who runs a famous durian orchard Paitoon Vanichsri. He talked about the benefits of participating in the project. “Our main product is our durian which is GAP certified. Our durian is safe and free from chemicals. Usually we use six-wheelers and four-wheelers to transport our durian, but sometimes we cannot deliver all of them in time because the trucks are small. It also costs a lot of time and money for our trucks to go back and forth several times. We are lucky to have Tops who has purchased our durian directly for two years now. By participating in the backhaul project, their large trucks can take a bigger amount of durian on each trip and deliver them to be sold at Tops stores nationwide. We can transport more durian, save more money, time and labor, and can spend more time on improving the quality and packaging so that our consumers get the best products at great prices.”

Mr. Wichan Saikaew, a monthong durian farmer who owns Udomsap Orchard, said that it’s much more convenient for him after he’s participated in the project during the COVID-19 crisis. “I grow only monthong durian, and usually most of my durian is exported to China, with some domestic consumption. I ensure the quality of my durian - I keep track of every process, from when the flowers bloom to when I harvest the durian. After harvesting the durian, I send them to Chanthaburi Durian Farmers Community Enterprise, and the durian is transported by car to be sold at various places. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not sure whether I could still transport my durian. Tops offered a helping hand at just the right moment. It’s much more convenient for me to manage the logistics. Usually, I would have to drive my car all the way to Bangkok to deliver the durian, but now Tops’ trucks help take care of the logistics. Even with the curfew restrictions, I can still ensure my durian is delivered, and it also helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Ms. Maytinee added that this is in line with the Group’s commitment to drive job creation, promote income and boost the economy for both the farmers and the country sustainably beyond the COVID-19 outbreak. Central Food Retail has a long-term plan to help Thai farmers by improving the supply chain and marketing to suit the ever changing needs of consumers. Central Food Retail works with the farmers in planning, package design, cutting, food processing and product development to ensure quality. This also helps increase opportunities for sales both online and offline. With regional procurement teams in each respective region, Tops can help offer knowledge and assistance to traditional farmers or older farmers who may not be familiar with modern retail. The teams work closely with cooperatives and community enterprises to help these traditional farmers, while modern farmers usually have a good grasp of the modern world and are able to adjust accordingly. In 2020, the company aims to have 10,000 families of farmers in its project, covering 42 provinces nationwide.

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