Export prospects determined to grow
Thailand's food exports are expected to manage growth of 2-3% this year despite a fresh surge of infections and reports of growing cases among workers in the food industry.
Visit Limlurcha, president of the Thai Food Processors Association, said food export prospects remain promising and are expected to fetch 1.1 trillion baht this year from an estimated 1.08 trillion baht last year.
He cited rising demand for food and high confidence in food safety standards.
Over the past five years, food export growth has averaged 1%.
"People around the world need food in daily life. We foresee higher demand for food, particularly during this crisis," Mr Visit said.
"Thai food manufacturers and exporters have to adjust their production lines to produce food in miniature and in single-serve packs with affordable prices in lieu of large volumes in bulk packaging."
While Thailand faces a new outbreak, food factories are running production as usual, he said, advising factories with infected workers to immediately separate the patients and close the departments the workers in.
"We have yet to get reports about infections in departments of Thai food factories to the extent factories have to be closed," he said.
"More infections will lead Thai food factories to tighten their food safety and quarantine standards."
According to Mr Visit, the association itself has strict practices all food producers have to follow if their workers get infected.
"Importers themselves understand the situation and they know Thai processed food is safe to eat, with no infections or contamination," he said, insisting consumers can prevent infection by washing their hands and packaging.
Mr Visit said Thai food prospects will be at risk if the outbreak continues and the Covid-19 vaccines are not effective enough.
Other risk factors, he said, include container shortages and a stronger baht affecting Thailand's export competitiveness.