On 17 August 2020, MFU executives led by Vice President of Mae Fah Luang University, Professor Dr. Sujitra Wongkasemjit welcomed a courtesy visit from the Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prikka Tapiola. The purpose of this visit was to discuss current status of the tea and coffee industry in Chiang Rai with the Tea and Coffee Institute of Mae Fah Luang University.
During the discussion, the Director of the Tea and Coffee Institute of Mae Fah Luang University, Asst. Prof. Dr. Piyaporn Chueamchaitrakun and the Head of Coffee Division, Dr. Amorn Owatworakit presented the current situation of tea and coffee production in Thailand and the roles of MFU in driving the tea and coffee industry in Thailand.
Recognising the economic importance of tea in Chiang Rai province, the Mae Fah Luang University Tea Institute was established in 2003 with the primary objective of being an academic center for the tea producing community. Now, it has expanded to become “the Tea and Coffee Institute of Mae Fah Luang University" with the missions to become an internationally recognized center for scientific research, academic services and effective coordination that responds to the needs of public and private sectors in order to promote the economic and social development as well as the development of the tea and coffee industry in Thailand.
Furthermore, the Tea and Coffee Institute of Mae Fah Luang University is the only university in Thailand that provides modern laboratories forchemical testing and analysis services of tea and coffee. The center also offers the Food Makerspace sponsored by the Food Innopolis, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) for tea and coffee entrepreneurs to apply technology and innovation to their prototypes.
MFU has focused on social and economic development. For social development, the Tea and Coffee Institute has organised several capacity building projects for tea and coffee agricultures, producers and entrepreneurs. For economic development, the institute has worked with government and private sectors in Chiang Rai to promote the Chiang Rai Province as a tea and coffee destination in Thailand since 2016. The tea and coffee destination policy covers logistics, trade, business negotiations, and exhibitions. Being a hub of tea and coffee will help create a competitive advantage and progressive development for the Thai tea and coffee industry, promote sustainable and better livelihoods and reduce the level of economic inequality.
Altogether, the visit from the Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand provided a chance for MFU to further collaboration for ensuring economic viability and sustainability of tea and coffee industry.