Pathum Thani sets target to be Asean-wide food hub
Good location, modern logistics and huge trade output boost province's prospects.
Every province has its own unique selling point. Some, such as Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai or Phuket, present themselves as prime tourist destinations, while others, such as Nong Khai, position themselves as border trade towns.
Pathum Thani province near Bangkok has set itself a goal to become a hub for fresh markets in the region.
Pinit Boonlert, the provincial governor, told the Bangkok Post that the province has sufficient resources to become a major distribution channel for food exports.
The province, he said, has a conducive location, being near the capital and Don Mueang airport, and an extensive network of highways connecting with the north and northeastern regions of the country.
"Such logistics help to strengthen our province's position as a location for food distribution. We even have the vision to upscale to a cutting-edge market 4.0 model," he said.
bending the norm: Pathum Thani Governor Pinit Boonlert opens the Banana Fruit Competition at Talaad Thai Fresh Market to promote Thai fruit.
Pathum Thani has always been a traditional community populated by ethnic Mon villagers who fled from war in Myanmar and settled here along the Chao Phraya River.
The province has always had a strong agricultural influence and has many rice, vegetable and fruit plantations, with the river connecting it to the north and northeast provinces as well as Bangkok, situated to the south.
Of its 20 fresh markets located along its canals, four are nationally famous including Simummuang Fresh Market, Iyara Market and Talaad Thai Fresh Market, a major food wholesale distributor.
Governor Pinit said traditional fresh markets in Pathum Thani province are shifting towards e-commerce by forging alliances with networks of buyers in Surin, Buri Ram and Phichit provinces.
As well as cooperating on logistics, fresh markets are now using barcode tagging on vegetable produce to track distribution.
"Thailand is a major source of food products to the global market, so producers need to concentrate on improving their methods in order to keep pace with the evolution of the digital economy," Governor Pinit said.
big ambitions: Talaad Thai Fresh Market has set itself a goal to become a hub for fresh markets in the region.
In addition, the province has a number industrial estates, among them Navanakhon Industrial Park, and academic and research institutes such as Thammasat University, the Asian Institute of Technology and National Science and Technology Development Agency's Science Park.
With these academic and research institutes, the province, he said, can also become a hub for eco-industry and a city of innovation.
Adit Pattaraprasith, director of Thai Agro Exchange Co Ltd, operator of Talaad Thai Fresh Market, said the market has set its sights on becoming the leading wholesale food market and agricultural exporter in Asean.
Staff of Talaad Thai Fresh Market pack vegetables for distribution. Each day, 100,000 sellers and buyers visit the market in Pathum Thani province.
Located in Khlong Luang district, Talaad Thai Fresh Market has 542 rai land, divided into 21 sections for various products.
Each day, 100,000 traders and shoppers visit the market and export agricultural products externally worth about 600 million baht per day, he said.
The Talaad Thai Fresh Market, he said, is upgrading by only carrying products which are grown in line with Good Agricultural Practice standards.
Simummuang Fresh Market, another major wholesale food market, is trying to establish itself as a market for quality food, and it has been named as a healthy fresh market by the Ministry of Public Health for eight years running.
Jaroon Chamnanprai, assistant managing-director of Simummuang Fresh Market, said the market has created a "Q smm" standard.
The "Q smm" is a measure of product quality based on its size and grade according to world produce standards, he said.