Food exports set to rise 7.1%

Food exports set to rise 7.1%

Resumption of global demand emerges

Workers prepare shrimp for export at a factory in Songkhla. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Workers prepare shrimp for export at a factory in Songkhla. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Industry Ministry expects food exports in 2021 will increase by 7.1% to 1.05 trillion baht in value despite the impact of Covid-19, thanks to growing demand from the global market.

Decreasing levels of food stocks in Africa, Asia and the Middle East during the pandemic also caused these regions to import more food products.

From January to July, Thai food exports expanded by 4.5% year-on-year to 622.70 billion baht in value as many countries and areas, notably China, the US and Europe, eased lockdown measures as greater numbers of their citizens and residents received vaccinations against the coronavirus.

"Food demand in China increased by 40% due to its economic recovery while the US and Europe will have a similar trend, with increasing imports of seafood products," said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

Global food demand turned sluggish during the lockdown period as many countries restricted certain businesses, especially eateries, in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

Anong Paijitprapapon, president of the National Food Institute (NFI), said the Thai food industry is likely to grow in the second half of this year in line with global economic recovery.

Food export value from August to December is expected to increase by 11% to 427.30 billion baht, up from 384.77 billion baht in the same period last year, according to NFI.

The increase will result from higher levels of activity in the restaurant segment and marketing channel expansion.

"Thai seafood products, shrimp, canned pineapple, cassava, coconut and coconut milk, seasonings as well as ready-to-eat products are currently in demand in the global market and the demand is tending to grow," said Mrs Anong.

The weaker baht is also good for food exporters as they usually use raw materials in the country.

However, NFI warned about a possible negative impact on Thai food exports if Covid-19 transmission continues unabated in factories.

A higher freight rate is another factor that may affect Thai food exports as it will increase logistics costs and cause many countries to delay placing food orders.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Thailand was the 11th largest food exporter in the global market.

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