|Case Studies of Neem Processing Projects Assisted by GTZ in Kenya, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Nicaragua (GTZ, 2000, 152 p.)|
|4. Case studies of small-scale semi-industrial neem processing in Kenya, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua|
|4.2 Documentation of neem activities in Thailand with special reference to the Thai Neem Products Company Ltd and the assistance provided to the DoA, Toxicological Division by CiM|
|4.2.6 Market potential, marketing and development strategies|
Distribution of neem products can be classified as selective. The target groups in the agricultural sector are people who can afford to pay for the product, for example farmers growing ornamentals or farmers using neem in fruit orchards. Due to the relatively high costs of neem formulations, most farmers cannot afford to buy them. Instead they buy the raw material18 and prepare their own extracts.
18 The farmers can either buy directly from the company or through the extension officer in the area.
Additionally, the neem market has been improved due to the sensitisation and increasing awareness of toxic pesticides which affect both producers and consumers. This provides a good opportunity for the neem products. The channel of product distribution ranges from the producer to the retailing institutions and the consumers, and sometimes the product is sold directly to the farmers19 (see Figure 2.3).
19 Direct sales in this case include a) direct contact with the consumers and b) direct sales at the farmers' training on using neem products (from survey).
To promote of their products, the neem manufacturing companies cooperate with the government and education institutes. Some small-scale neem producers started to distribute their products through cooperation with the government officers that are working on this issue. In Thailand neem products in agriculture are promoted by the government. Kasetsart University and the Department of Agriculture have conducted training for farmers on the use of neem every year. Representatives of companies are also invited as guest speakers. It gives them a chance to present and sell their products directly to the farmers or participants. This is a short and direct channel for product.
Some companies also distribute their products through department stores and hypermarkets, or sometimes to the special markets (herb products). It should be noted that companies produce on request20 and do not keep stocks, because of the short shelf-life (one year) of the product.
20 Taking Thai Neem Products Co as an example, there are at least 50 to 100 litres in stock. The producer is therefore quite flexible and able to produce on request (interview).
At present, the use of neem in Thailand's agriculture can be classified into two types:
· Use of dried neem fruit (purchased or subsidised21
· Use of neem extracts (purchased)
21 Department of Agricultural Extension had provided the farmers with dried neem fruit for crop protection until 1998.
The farmers using neem at present have had problems when applying synthetic pesticides, for example impacts on health and resistance of the pests. Therefore they switched to neem to protect their crops. However, the farmers who have had no problems with synthetic pesticides still apply them. The constraints on using neem products are the same as those mentioned in Chapter II:
· Relatively high price
· Lack of confidence in using neem products
· No knockdown effect and slow action
22 Ermel et al. (1997) reported that the low profile of the locally made neem insecticides mainly depended on the quality of the raw material. Neem seed kernels obtained from the Thai neem tree contain lower amounts of azadirachtin A than kernels from Indian neem (Chirathamjaree et al. 1997). Additionally, the harvesting and post-harvest conditions may adversely affect the quality.