Food industry: Adding value to farmer's crops
- Published: 16/07/2013 at 01:37 PM
- Online news:
Chiang Mai vegetables & fruits, Nakhon Ratchasima meat production, Prachuap Khiri Khan fish & pineapples and coconuts.
Scientist at work in laboratory.
Innovate to survive Thais told
Thailand needs to focusmore on value-added food products to cope withstiffer competitiononce the Asean Economic Community(AEC) is established in the next few years, an internationalexpert says.
Roger van Hoesel, managing director of the Netherlands-based Food Valley, said the AEC provides an opportune momentfor Thailand to innovateas it can no longer competeon low wages.
More value-added products are needed to serve the upper market in order to competeagainst similar but cheaper products from neighbouringcountries. This could be achieved by developing packaging expanding shelf life, increasing health benefits and with sustainability he said.
"I haven't heard much about sustainabilityhere. In the Netherlands if you don't do anything to making carbon footprints lower, you're out of the market in a few years. The market will demandit from you," said Mr van Hoesel at a seminar hosted by the Industrial Promotion Department (DIP) and Chulalongkorn University.
Manop Kaewkoi, chief executive of Nature Food, said Thailand's rice market needs to focuson qualityand added value on top of sales volume
"Organic farming is not an alternativebut the solution to the country's crisis," said the manufacturer of organic""" rice, which was one of 10 products showcased on the sidelines of the seminar.
Mr van Hoesel said Thailand's food industry has competitiveadvantages in terms of qualityand researchand development while the country's vision to develop"Food Valley" will give a significantboostto innovation, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
It took two years for the Netherlands' Food Valley NL to be set upin 2004, where 60-65% of businesses are SMEs.
Food Valley NL currentlyconsists of 21 researchcentres. The Food Valley Society involves over 70 agro-food and food-related businesses such as Kikkoman, Heinz and several others operatingmore than 235 factories.
The Netherlands, well-known for its bread, milk and meat, is the world's second-biggest exporter of agro-food products. The agro-food sector accounts for 10% of the country's gross national product.
The Thai department has targeted three provinces to launch its Food Valley initiative Chiang Mai in the North is to be the centre for vegetables and processedfruits, Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast will focuson meat production while Prachuap Khiri Khan in the South will be the hubfor fisheries products as well as pineapples and coconuts.
The project is an attemptto establisha network of food producers and agricultureoperators in clusters to boostproductivity.
Through a public-private partnership the government plays a role in developing infrastructure logistics finance and researchand development.
About the author
- Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Assistent Manager Educational services