Thai food producers and the Thai government are to work together to boost food exports over the next five years, with a target of one trillion baht in annual receipts by 2007, reports the Bangkok Post.
They agree that to reach the target, food processing standards must be improved to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of foreign buyers. At a joint meeting chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last week, producers and officials agreed to establish an agency under the Agriculture Ministry to supervise food-processing standards.
The agency would be operational within a couple of months, said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak. A state-funded laboratory will be established to check food quality and safety before export. Stricter controls will be applied to the use of chemicals in frozen foods. The government will set aside 370 million baht (€9.63 million) from the economic stimulus fund to overcome the problem of chemical residues in food, continued the Bangkok Post report.
Chatchai Boonyarat, the chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries' Food Industry Club, said that if the measures were implemented successfully, food exports would probably reach one trillion baht in 2007, compared with 442 billion baht last year. Given its 13 per cent annual growth in earnings, food is one of six major industries targeted by the government to boost exports.
Thailand is the largest exporter of frozen shrimps and canned pineapple. Its shrimps claim a 25 per cent share of the world market for the product with annual growth of 14 per cent, canned pineapple has 45 per cent with 11 per cent annual growth. Thailand ranks fourth in exports of frozen chicken, capturing a 6 per cent global market share with 25.67 per cent annual growth.