RENOWNED FOR ITS ABUNDANT NATURAL RESOURCES, HIGHLY – SKILLED WORKFORCE, AND STRENGTH IN RESEARCH, THAILAND IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST FOOD EXPORTERS AND THE LARGEST FOOD PRODUCERS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. THIS, WHEN COUPLED THE NATION’S LONG HISTORY, RICH IN CULTURE AND WORLD RENOWNED THAI CUISINE, IS A WINNING COMBINATION. THAIS HAVE A STRONG NATURAL SENSE OF HOW TO CREATE AMAZING FLAVOURS AND BEAUTIFUL FOOD PRESENTATION THAT APPEAL TO EVERY TASTE. ON A SPECIAL INTERVIEW BY THE EDITOR OF THE FOOD BUSINESS GULF & ME MAGAZINE, MR. MATT MATTHEWS WITH MRS. CHANTIRA JIMREIVAT VIVATRAT, DIRECTOR- GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE, COVERING TOPICS ON THE GLOBAL POSITION OF THAILAND AS A FOOD SUPPLYING COUNTRY DURING THAIFEX 2018.
Q. What are the importance of the food industry to the country’s economy?
Thailand’s food industry has high potential in terms of production for the domestic market and for exports due to a wealthy, solid foundation in agriculture, a large, quality workforce and entrepreneurs who possess skills in production and use high technology besides being well-prepared in managing production processes under strict quality control. They are also widely accepted by foreign clients in terms of product deliveries, being responsible and accountable for their goods and producing a great variety of high-quality items that are readily accepted by international markets.
What is the situation of food exports in 2017 and 2018?
Food exports (including rice and sugar) in 2017 totaled US$24.572 billion, growing 0.74 per cent compared to 2016. Food exports (excluding rice and sugar) in 2017 were worth US$17.644 billion, growing 4.47 per cent compared to 2016. Canned frozen seafood and processed seafood (excluding prawns) saw sales worth US$3.913 billion (- 3.01%). Fresh chilled, frozen and processed prawn were worth US$1.735 billion (+19.47%). Fresh chilled, frozen and processed chicken hit US$2.547 billion (5.90%). Canned and processed fruits and vegetables totaled US$2.378 billion (+7.69%) in sales. Fresh chilled, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables saw sales worth US$1.793 billion (+15.97%). And other foods had sales worth US$5.502 billion (+.81%).
Exports in 2018 are expected to expand due to?
The volume of Thailand’s agricultural produce, which has increased, along with a bright ASEAN economy, especially countries in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) group, which continue to expand. The value of the baht, which is stable and is moving in the band below 35 baht per dollar (Electronic Government Agency — EGA), this helps growth of food exports, plus other factors that support consumption, exports and rising investment. Results of the government’s economic stimulus and New S-Curve and Eastern Economic Corridor policies to attract foreign investors, besides the state’s strategy in supporting and helping SMEs/Startups in various ways. World crude oil prices, which have a tendency to rise. Oil prices in 2018 are expected above US$55 (EGA)/barrel, contributing to rising agricultural produce prices, consumer products and purchasing power of production countries.
What are the policies and strategies of the Ministry of Commerce in enhancing the food industry’s potential?
Develop and expand markets to create trust and project a good image of Thai products on the international stage with the objective of making Thailand become the “Kitchen of the World”. Enhance and promote market expansion, especially in niche markets such as health food (food for seniors), halal food, organic food, functional foods. Increase the ability of Thai entrepreneurs, especially SMEs and micro enterprises. Focus on promoting and enhancing products by using innovation. And promote/support entrepreneurs to produce products that meet standards accepted by foreign countries by using signs portraying quality such as Thai Select and the Thailand Trust Mark (TTM).
What are the significance and objectives of THAIFEX – World of Food Asia 2018?
The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) has been organizing food exhibitions for the past 27 years. The Department, along with the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Koelnmesse, has been organizing THAIFEX – World of Food Asia since 2004, with this being the 15th year. Every sector has played an important role in boosting the popularity and attraction of the exhibition on the world food stage. THAIFEX is one of the department’s most significant events, helping to stimulate the country’s economy and promote exports.
The objectives of the exhibition are to promote exports of the food and beverages as well as technologies and services relating to the food industry. To develop the quality of food products and technologies in the industry. To disseminate information in order to help local people realize the potential of the production of food products, technologies and services related to the food industry, which will create a positive attitude in using and consuming Thai products. And to make Thailand the center of the exhibition for food products, technologies and services related to the whole Asia food industry.
What are the strengths of THAIFEX?
THAIFEX – World of Food Asia is the continent’s third-largest exhibition (after Food & Hotel Asia, Singapore, and FHC China), which has captured the attention of participants and keeps witnessing a rising number of visitors. Participants from Thailand and overseas exhibit food items, drinks, technologies and a variety of food services with new products on display. This event is a stage to hold business negotiations, build large business networks and strengthen trade ties. There is a healthy diversity of “integrated” goods and services exhibited at the event. Activities arranged spread knowledge of the food industry through exhibitions and seminars, which also feature presentations of technological innovations in production and packaging in order to provide updated information, international trends, and the future demands of food and related services.
What is the response from Thai and foreign business operators for THAIFEX – World of Food Asia 2018?
About 2,500 companies are participating in this year’s event, exhibiting/selling products and services via 5,750 booths. Exhibitors hail from as many as 40 countries in East Asia, ASEAN, Europe, Latin America and Africa, as well as the United States. Argentina is a partner country.