Organic farming keeps hotel healthy

736948Sampran Riverside Hotel is happy to see that its organic farming concept is benefiting its hotel operation and nearby communities four years after its establishment

The Patom products made from organic products
The project, called the Sampran model, was initiated by the hotel to develop a value chain of organic produce in Nakhon Pathom’s Sampran district.

Organic farming is done on the hotel’s land by staff and nearby farmers, who sell their products to the hotel, which uses them as ingredients for cooking but mostly for making body and haircare products.

This business model benefits the hotel and its guests as well as farmers, who have lower costs while farm prices rise, while universities and local governments like visiting the organic farming area to study the concept.

The tourism downturn in Nakhon Pathom has affected the hotel’s business, but products from the Sampran model are expected to be among key revenue drivers to help the hotel in the long term.

Arrut Navaraj, managing director of Sampran Riverside Hotel, expects only a modest loss when the 2014 figures are finalised.

In mid-2014, the hotel rebranded its Suan Sampran bodycare product brand, whose logo is a fish-shaped ornament made of palm leaf, into the Patom brand, which has a pagoda as its logo. The pagoda is the symbol of Nakhon Pathom.

The hotel also decided to use the Patom brand to represent all organic farm products from the Sampran model.

Arrut Navaraj, managing director of Sampran Riverside Hotel, said agricultural products under the Patom brand have high potential to grow in the long term because organic products are on trend with demand, especially in the overseas market.

The hotel has been expanding its business by producing organic products for other hotels. It has tailor-made bodycare products for Sri Panwa Phuket, a luxury villa resort in Phuket.

It also plans to open a display shop in Sukhumvit Soi 49 in Bangkok and aims to generate sales from the Patom brand of about 18 million baht in the first year of operation.

The Sampran model is attracting tourists, particularly from Europe and the United States, to visit the district and the hotel.

“We don’t want to grow like a big brand. Our product prices are affordable and we prefer to grow in a similar way to organic products,” Mr Arrut said.

Mr Arrut spent 6 million baht to build a factory to meet the good manufacturing practice standard. The project 200 farmers. Some 27 farmers have already received certificates from Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand and the number will increase to 60 in 2015.

The Sampran model generates revenue for the hotel, which expects to record a modest loss in 2014 after suffering big losses for many years, especially during the massive flooding in 2011.

The hotel has also created Talad Sook Jai, a weekend green market in its grounds, as a place for farmers to sell organic and pesticide-free fruit and vegetables directly to customers.

The market is also held alongside other markets in Bangkok, including one at PTT’s head office.

“Selling products directly to consumers will help cut the need to engage middlemen who like to offer lower prices to farmers,” Mr Arrut said.

For example, one member farmer could sell guava at only 20 baht per kilogramme to a middleman. Today he can sell his guava at 40 baht at Talad Sook Jai.

Source: Bangkok Post