Poultry export outlook solidly optimistic

Poultry export outlook solidly optimistic

Workers process chicken meat at a plant in Nakhon Ratchasima. Thailand's poultry exports are forecast to show strong growth this year. APICHART JINAKUL
Workers process chicken meat at a plant in Nakhon Ratchasima. Thailand's poultry exports are forecast to show strong growth this year. APICHART JINAKUL

Thailand's poultry export prospects are looking more promising this year, lifted by higher demand and the resumption of fresh poultry imports by many countries after bird flu was brought under control.

According to Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarikulya, the ministry is optimistic Thailand will be able to ship 750,000 tonnes of poultry worth 96 billion baht this year, up from 720,000 tonnes worth 92 billion baht in 2016.

"The government expects 2017 to be a good year for Thailand's poultry industry," Mr Chatchai said. "South Korea has already lifted a 12-year ban on Thai chicken imports, while Singapore has allowed 20 qualified Thai factories to export fresh poultry. On the back of the global economic recovery, the ministry's responsible officials are set to hold talks with many importing countries to raise exports as much as possible."

According to Mr Chatchai, since Thailand's bird flu outbreak in 2004 Thailand's Livestock Development Department has been working closely with the poultry industry to not only tackle the flu problem, but also develop and upgrade standards for livestock and poultry.

The standards cover the farming system, animal feed, processing factories, quarantine rules and the disease control system.

"Thailand is the world's third-largest chicken exporter, trailing only Brazil and the United States," Mr Chatchai said. "Many markets now allow fresh and cooked chicken imports from Thailand, including Japan, the European Union, Asean, South Korea and Singapore."

Singapore early this year allowed 20 more Thai frozen chicken factories to export to Singapore.

This will likely result in an increase of more than 5,000 tonnes of chicken worth about 400 million baht exported to the country.

Since the bird flu outbreak in 2004, Singapore permitted only cooked poultry products from Thailand.

Until the end of 2012, Singapore allowed only two Thai factories to export frozen chicken to Singapore.

Thailand's current poultry exports to Singapore total 16,000 tonnes or 2.3 billion baht a year. Most of the exports (95%) are cooked, processed chicken meat; 3% are frozen chicken; and 2% are cooked, processed pork and processed egg products.

In November of last year, South Korea lifted a 12-year ban on Thai chicken imports.

South Korean officials inspected Thai chicken processing plants in early 2016 and gave the green light for exports on Nov 9. Twelve plants got the nod, including three owned by CP Foods, two by Betagro and one by the Thai poultry arm of US-based Cargill.

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