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Thailand tipped for top five exporter status in 20 years

By RJ Whitehead , 21-Dec-2016

© iStock
© iStock

Thailand could be one of the world’s five biggest food exporters in the next 20 years—a significant jump for a country that is currently in 13th place in terms of export value.

The National Food Institute said it would help Thailand increase its exports to the tune of THB6tr (US$167bn) compared to current receipts of THB1tr.

Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, the institute’s vice-president, said the food industry had strong potential to compete with the global market at a time when exports are expected to grow substantially.

To achieve its 20-year goal, Thailand should enter the top 10 of food exporters within a decade. This would require exports valued at THB2.3tr, said Nuttapon. Doing so would require investment in technology to bring food quality improvements, allowing Thai manufacturers to penetrate new markets.

"The government is trying to promote Thai food producers to have sustainable businesses by using advanced technology and innovations," Nuttapon added. 

The government has placed food among the 10 targeted industries it will support as part of its new economic model. It expects food exports to grow by 8% next year largely because of a higher export volume of rice, canned tuna, sugar, ready-to-eat food, seasoning products, fruit juices and cassava starch. 

At the same time, demand for Thai food is expected to increase in several major markets, while rising demand in Asean countries could boost exports. 

The Federation of Thai Industries estimates that Asean accounted for 28.4% of food exports in the last year, followed by shipments to Japan (13.9%), America (11.9%), Europe (10%), Africa (9.1%), China 8%, Australasia (3.6%), the Middle East (3.4%) and South Asia (1.1%). 

The FTI expects a stable currency rate of around THB35 per American dollar next year, which would helping to add competitiveness to Thai food exports. 

"Next year, the FTI does not foresee any negative impacts that would prevent the sector from rising," he said. 

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