Cabinet okays processed food roadmap
The cabinet has approved the first phase of a food and food processing development plan from 2020-2027, aiming to develop value-added products and increase competitiveness in the global market.
The government wants to push Thailand to become Asean's processed food hub by 2027.
To achieve its goal, Thailand is expected to be in the top 10 of food exports globally with a value 1.42 trillion baht.
Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit plans to support 7.6 million local food companies and related businesses in the country, while improving farmers' incomes.
"The first phase of the food and food processing development plan will support the agricultural sector, in line with the government's local economy scheme," he said.
The ministry expects the development plan will contribute 480 billion baht in new investments for the food industry over the next seven years.
Thailand ranks 11th among global food exporters, with a value of roughly US$33.1 billion or 1.05 trillion baht in 2019.
Mr Suriya said the Covid-19 outbreak has boosted demand for food products, a trend Thailand should take full advantage of to improve its food-related industries and agricultural products such as rice, sugar cane, fruit and vegetables.
The government's roadmap calls for development of future healthy foods and food biotechnology products, in cooperation with global food companies to construct food supply chains from downstream to upstream.
The plan for food innovation includes state support for food laboratories to help local businesses. The government also created the Food Industrial Transformation Centre to improve food innovation and packaging.
"The ministry will join the private sector on education to drive forward the food industry," he said.
The ministry plans to create a new e-commerce marketing platform to promote food and food processing products in the global market. The agency wants to reduce regulations that conflict with food and food processing development, increasing benefits for local businesses, said Mr Suriya.
The food processing industry club under the Federation of Thai Industries expects food exports for 2020 to be 1.02-1.06 trillion baht, up from 1.02 trillion in 2019.