Institute: Thailand can be 'Top 5' food exporter
The National Food Institute (NFI) says it plans to push Thailand to be among the top five food exporters within the next 20 years, with value rising to 6 trillion baht, says Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, the institute's vice-president.
Thailand ranks 13th among food exporters, with a value of 980 billion to 1 trillion baht per year, he said.
Mr Nuttapon said the Thai food industry and food exports are expected to grow substantially in line with a rising economy. The industry has strong potential to grow and compete in the global market, he said.
To achieve its 20-year goal, Thailand should reach the top 10 of food exports within a decade, with export value of 2.3 trillion baht, said Mr Nuttapon.
He said the key factor to help the Thai food industry reach the target is new food technology and innovations improving the quality of food, adding value and creating food products that can penetrate new markets.
"The government is trying to promote Thai food producers to have sustainable businesses by using advanced technology and innovations," said Mr Nuttapon.
Food is among the 10 targeted industries the government vowed to support as part of its new economic model. The other industries are: automotive and auto parts, including electric vehicles; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.
Thailand expects its food exports to grow 8% next year, with export value rising to 1 trillion baht. The rise is largely because of a higher export volume of rice, canned tuna, sugar, ready-to-eat food, seasoning products, fruit juices and cassava starch.
Mr Nuttapon said demand for Thai food is expected to rise in several major markets.
In 2016, the value of Thailand's food exports is expected to reach its target of 980 billion baht mainly because of rising demand in Asean countries.
Boonpeng Santiwattatam, president of the food processing industry club under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said Thailand's major export markets are Asean, making up 28.4%, of which neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam comprise 15.2%. Japan makes up 13.9%, the US 11.9%, Europe 10%, Africa 9.1%, China 8%, Oceania 3.6%, the Middle East 3.4% and South Asia 1.1%.
The FTI expects a stable currency rate of around 35 baht per US 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.