For Titichaya Dedkhuntod, the Belt and Road Initiative has offered a boost not only to her life and career but also to the livelihoods of many local farmers in Rayong, Thailand.
In 2012, Dedkhuntod joined COFCO Biochemical (Thailand), a Chinese company located in Thailand, as her educational background in chemistry aligned well with the company's requirements and she believed there were more opportunities for personal and professional growth.
"As an employee of COFCO Thailand, I deeply feel the impact on me personally after the company participated in international cooperation under the influence of the Belt and Road Initiative," she said.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to shore up interconnectivity, and build trade and infrastructure networks on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
COFCO Biochemical is a citric acid production and processing enterprise established in April 2012 in Rayong. For years, the company has purchased dried cassava from farmers as raw material to produce citric acid.
Starting as a laboratory analyst, Dedkhuntod then rose in the ranks to become a manager.
She said working in COFCO allows her to participate in researching and practicing cutting-edge biotechnology in the chemical industry, providing her with continuous opportunities to learn and grow.
"There are many technicians around me sent here by China, who help me professionally without reserve so that I can better show my talent and potential," she said.
"These valuable work experiences have made me grow up quickly along with an increase in my income, improving my family's quality of life."
Over the past 10 years, global cooperation has been deepened under the framework of the BRI. Dedkhuntod, 46, said her company has also developed quickly. At present, the annual production capacity of the company is over 50,000 metric tons, providing more than 300 jobs for the locals, she said.
In recent years, with the increase in the company's production capacity and the growth in benefits, it has also created considerable tax revenue for the local government every year.
As a longtime employee, Dedkhuntod said she is proud to participate in the company's development. In 2020, the company developed a new major customer project but failed to deliver due to the discrepancy in the taste index. At that time, the production technology, quality management and other departments set up a process research group. Dedkhuntod, as the quality assurance supervisor, also participated in the project.
"The team was faced with new process requirements and unknown challenges. I worked with my colleagues to gather a significant amount of information and communicated continuously with the customer, providing feedback on experimental results and promptly adjusting production technology research to meet the customer's requirements," she said.
"After numerous trials, we finally passed the customer's industrial trial and officially began supplying them in July that same year."
Through her work, Dedkhuntod also saw how the BRI has contributed to local economic development and how people's lives have been enhanced thanks to the initiative.
By utilizing advanced fermentation technology, COFCO has successfully produced citric acid from fresh cassava and customers can purchase fresh cassava at the factory gate 365 days a year, solving the farmers' problem of storing and selling fresh cassava during the rainy season in Thailand.
Furthermore, to assist local farmers, the company has accelerated the settlement process, ensuring that farmers receive payment within one to two days after sales.
"This has been highly welcomed by local farmers," she said.