Thailand: Food shipments set to hit 10-year pinnacle

Thai food exports are projected to grow by 10% this year, the highest level in a decade, after robust growth of 30% in the first half of this year.

The gains are driven by the economic recovery and the resumption of business activities after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, as well as mounting concerns over food shortages in many countries as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, says an industry executive.

Visit Limlurcha, honorary president of the Thai Food Processors’ Association, said the economic recovery in many countries has led to an increase in business activities, while the rise in people travelling and concurrent tourism rebound has brought about a surge in demand for food and food services.

Food service providers, in particular, are rushing to increase their stocks after purchase orders fell during the pandemic.


He said worries over food shortages in many countries arising from heightened geopolitical conflicts has also led importers to accelerate food shipments, while the baht’s weakness makes Thai food exports competitive this year.

Food exports generated 797 billion baht in the first half of this year. Of the total, shipments of agricultural food products rose by 21% from the same period last year to 372 billion, while agro-industry shrank by 40% to 398 billion baht.

The top 10 food markets were China, Asean, the US, Japan, India, South Korea, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

Food products that posted strong growth in the first half included fresh, chilled and dried fruit, which rose 20% year-on-year to 118 billion baht.

Tapioca was second with an export value amounting to 83 billion baht, up 35%, while processed and canned seafood was up by 22% to 62.8 billion baht, rice up by 43% to 60.9 billion, sugar gained 160% to 58.8 billion, pet food was up 35% to 49.1 billion, and processed chicken increased 23% to 46.9 billion.

Mr Visit thinks food exports would grow by at least 10% this year.