Thai Food Industry Enhancing Its Potential for More Exports (12/10/2007)
The Thai food industry is adjusting to the global situation and enhancing its potential for more exports. A report from the National Food Institute shows that Thai food exports in 2007 have had a slower growth against the great potential of the industry.

The report indicates that from January to August this year, Thai food exports amounted to 395 billion baht, a rise of 9.7 percent over the same period last year. Exports of raw materials and semi-raw materials, such as rice, sugar, tapioca, vegetables, and fruits, saw an increase. The increase was due to the decelerated production of agricultural goods all over the world. As a result, demand for agricultural products from Thailand is on the rise.

The report also shows that exports of Thai fishery and livestock products, as well as canned pineapple are likely to drop this year because of a shortage of raw materials. The National Food Institute believes that Thai food exports throughout 2007 will reach 608 billion baht. The Thai food export situation during the latter part of this year is expected to become better than the first part because of the greater stability of the Thai baht.

Food is one of Thailand’s important economic sectors, as it constitutes 14 percent of the country’s total exports. It generates employment for 20 million people and provides markets for 80 percent of raw food materials from Thailand. According to the National Food Institute, good quality and safety standards are recognized as the strengths of the Thai food industry. Thailand has continued to promote food safety, aimed at contributing to good health among the people and to Thai food production and exports.

Thailand has been able to manage to use plant and animal species to meet its needs and for export. It is known as one of the few countries to have developed itself from an agrarian country to a relatively industrialized one, yet still maintain the importance of agriculture and food production. Today, the country has become one of the world’s major food exporters.

The Government has a policy to promote Thailand as the “Kitchen of the World” by encouraging the opening of more Thai restaurants overseas. The policy will also help promote exports of raw materials from Thailand for Thai food preparation.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is joining hands with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in organizing World Food Day celebrations this year. World Food Day is observed annually on October 16. For this year, Thailand will join FAO in a candle-lit ceremony on October 22 in front of the Bangkok City Hall in commemoration of the day and the global campaign against hunger. The ceremony will also be held simultaneously worldwide.

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