Govt to promote exports through FTAs
The Agriculture Ministry and Commerce Ministry will promote Thailand's farm exports by capitalising on free trade agreements (FTAs) which the government has entered into, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said.
The government has asked both ministries to step up their partnership, in which the Commerce Ministry promotes agricultural goods grown or made under the supervision of the Agriculture Ministry, she said.
Deeper cooperation will allow private producers, especially farmers, to adjust the scale of their production to better meet the demands of the export market.
Farm exports increased in both amount and value in January and February, and the sector is expected to continue growing for the rest of the year, despite the Covid-19 crisis, the spokeswoman said.
The key to expansion rests with production methods which meet industry standards and caters effectively to the need of consumers, along with the sound management of domestic supplies and exports to foreign markets which best exploits the mechanisms afforded by FTAs.
Of the farm products, vegetable exports are set to increase the most, with growth forecast between 1.9-2.9% compared to last year, followed by livestock exports, which are forecast to grow at 1-2% and fishery exports at 0.1-1.1%.
Thailand has entered into 13 FTAs with 18 countries. Last year, Thailand's farm exports to these countries topped US$14.8 billion (461.81 billion baht), or 2.3% more than in the previous year.
The Commerce Ministry joined the National Farmers Council, the Agriculture Ministry and the Board of Trade of Thailand in sending their representatives on field trips to meet farmers and educate them about FTAs and how to benefit from the agreements.
For instance, the Commerce Ministry conducted a business match-making programme for fruit vendors, where local sellers were able to connect with overseas buyers on an online platform in March, she said.
Participating buyers came from China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, the US, Argentina and Spain. The deals in March are expected to generate 1.8 billion baht.