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CAB CALLING April-June, 2007

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Origin and Growth oI the Thai Iood Industry &
Thailand -
The Kitchen oI the World
E.V. Murrayª
Lessons Ior India
Intrnductinn
Till lhe 1970's, Thailand did nol figure
as a significanl ¡layer in lhe
inlernalional agribusiness lrade.
Tradilionally an ex¡orler of agricullural
¡roduce confined lo rice, ¡inea¡¡le and
sugar, loday, Thailand is lhe only nel
food ex¡orler in Asia and has lhe
ca¡acily lo ¡roduce far more lhan ils
¡o¡ulalion consumes. Thai food ex¡orls
exceed im¡orls by a broad margin.
Over lhe ¡asl lhree decades, Thailand
has successfully ulilized innovalions in
agricullural research and lechnology lo
develo¡ a vibranl and dynamic
agricullural seclor. Through lechnology
lransfer and a combinalion of
¡erseverance and aggressive
delerminalion on lhe ¡arl of lhe ¡rivale
seclor, lhe business of food
¡roduclion for ex¡orl has flourished.
Simullaneously, an economy vilh
suslained grovlh has resulled in a
slrong domeslic demand for ¡rocessed
foods.
Today, Thailand is lhe vorld's lo¡
ex¡orler of rice, canned ¡inea¡¡les,
¡inea¡¡le |uice and concenlrale, and is
among lhe lo¡ len ex¡orlers of seafood,
frozen shrim¡ and frozen chicken, vilh
agricullural ex¡orls accounling for
roughly 15% of lolal ex¡orls. Iolloving
lhe 1997 financial and economic crises,
Thailand's agricullural ex¡orls increased
significanlly, ¡arlicularly in rice, rubber,
shrim¡, ¡oullry, cassava, and corn,
demonslraling lhe ca¡acily of lhe
agricullure seclor lo res¡ond lo an
olhervise crilical silualion. The
lransformalion of lhe Thai agri
economy made ¡ossible reduclion of
¡overly in rural areas of lhe counlry
from around 30% righl u¡lo lhe early
1980's lo fever lhan 10% loday, due lo
a buoyanl economy combined vilh
a¡¡ro¡rialely largeled ¡overly
allevialion inilialives of lhe
Governmenl.
In lhis ¡a¡er, vhich is based on
inleraclion vilh Governmenl agencies,
enler¡rises and olher aclors in lhe seclor
and sludy of lileralure on lhe sub|ecl,
an allem¡l is made lo undersland hov
Thailand could lransform ils
agribusiness seclor from a subsislence
cro¡ orienled syslem lo becoming a
global ¡roducer lo feed lhe vorld
markel and hov ve in India can learn
lesson from lhis ex¡erience.
¯ Mcm|cr cj |ccu|tq, , Cc||cgc cj Agricu|turc| 8cn|ing, |cscrtc 8cn| cj |n!ic, Punc
T|c inputs prcti!c! |q t|c pcrticipcnts cj t|c |ntcrncticnc| Prcgrcmmc cn Agri|usincss in T|ci|cn! cn! Mc|cqsic |c|! !uring jcnucrq, 2007 in t|c
prcpcrcticn cj t|c pcpcr crc grctcju||q cc|ncw|c!gc!.
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
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Agricu!turc & Fnnd Industry
in Thai!and
Agricullure and food induslry is an
im¡orlanl seclor in lhe economy of
Thailand. The counlry is lhe only nel
food ex¡orler in Asia and earns aboul
IS$10 billion annually from food
manufacluring alone. Thailand's ferlile
soil and bounliful valer resources have
conlribuled lo ils ¡roduclion sur¡luses.
Agricullural ¡roduclion is slill a slrong
base for lhe ¡roduclion of food for lhe
nalion's ¡o¡ulalion and of rav malerials
for food-¡rocessing induslry. Thailand's
localion al lhe cenlre of Soulheasl Asia
makes il a nalural ex¡orl ¡lalform.
Lx¡orls accounl for half of lhe food &
beverage (I&ß) induslry's oul¡ul vilh
lhe balance consumed domeslically. The
Thai food induslry can be divided inlo
4 ma| or calegories: Irimary
agricullural ¡roducls, Iiveslock and
¡oullry, Iisheries and Irocessed foods.
Iood ¡rocessing is one of lhe counlry's
biggesl manufacluring seclors. Aboul
61% of lhe ¡rocessed I&ß markel in
Thailand is food ¡roducls vhile
beverages make u¡ a significanl 39%.
The main ly¡es of ¡rocessed foods
include fruils & vegelables, shrim¡ &
seafood, ¡oullry ¡roducls, rice grain &
cereal ¡roducls, sugar & confeclioneries
and |uice & beverages.
Agricu!tura! and Fnnd Pn!icy
A key reason for lhe heallhy grovlh of lhe agricullural seclor vas lhe favorable
food and agricullural ¡olicy vhose em¡hasis has been on slrenglhening
com¡eliliveness of food and agricullural commodilies in lhe vorld markel on lhe
basis of efficienl and suslainable nalural resource ulilizalion and slrenglhening
lhe ca¡abilily of farmers as vell as farmers' organizalions lo res¡ond lo dynamic
changes. The ma|or elemenls of lhe slralegy vere as follovs:
1. Increasing efficiency in in¡ul ulilizalion lo reduce lhe cosl of ¡roduclion
lhrough a¡¡licalion of a¡¡ro¡riale lechnology, research, and develo¡menl
in agricullure as vell as agro-induslry.
2. Iromoling ¡roduclion according lo markel demand.
3. Im¡roving agricullural markel infraslruclure al all levels.
(A ly¡ical exam¡le being Tallad Tai markel (ßox1)).
4. Increasing ca¡abilily for decision-making among farmers and farmer's
organizalions.
5. Increasing farmers' ¡arlici¡alion in agricullural ¡olicy ¡lanning.
6. Iromoling suslainable agricullure lhrough su¡¡orl of farmer mulual
learning ¡rocess.
7. Slrenglhening ca¡acily in increasing yield, suslainable agricullure,
nelvorking on suslainable agricullure, and slronger communily economy.
8. Lslablishing suslainable agricullural ¡roducl slandards.
9. Increasing farm credil and develo¡ing credil nelvorking among farmer's
organizalions and enlre¡reneurs.
App!icd Rcscarch in Agricu!turc
Conscious efforl made by lhe Governmenl Thailand and cor¡orales in agribusiness
lo vork vilh agricullural and research inslilulions lo orienl research lovards aclual
and relevanl requiremenls has resulled in increase in farm ¡roduclivily and
enhancemenl in lhe qualily of Thai food and agricullural ¡roducls. Iublic and
¡rivale inveslmenl in agricullural research and develo¡menl has resulled in
significanl increase in yields and land ¡roduclivily, enabling lhe ex¡ansion of lrade
in Thai food and agricullural ¡roducls in global markels.
The Tallad Thai, wholesale market is a The Tallad Thai, wholesale market is a The Tallad Thai, wholesale market is a The Tallad Thai, wholesale market is a The Tallad Thai, wholesale market is a
unique model of public-private unique model of public-private unique model of public-private unique model of public-private unique model of public-private
partnership, where fruit, vegetable and partnership, where fruit, vegetable and partnership, where fruit, vegetable and partnership, where fruit, vegetable and partnership, where fruit, vegetable and
other growers from surrounding 150 km other growers from surrounding 150 km other growers from surrounding 150 km other growers from surrounding 150 km other growers from surrounding 150 km
radius, bring their agri, dairy and marine radius, bring their agri, dairy and marine radius, bring their agri, dairy and marine radius, bring their agri, dairy and marine radius, bring their agri, dairy and marine
produce every day. The marketing produce every day. The marketing produce every day. The marketing produce every day. The marketing produce every day. The marketing
infrastructure created by the Govt. takes infrastructure created by the Govt. takes infrastructure created by the Govt. takes infrastructure created by the Govt. takes infrastructure created by the Govt. takes
care of the produce from the stage of care of the produce from the stage of care of the produce from the stage of care of the produce from the stage of care of the produce from the stage of
unloading to export by air/shipment after unloading to export by air/shipment after unloading to export by air/shipment after unloading to export by air/shipment after unloading to export by air/shipment after
value creation through processes of value creation through processes of value creation through processes of value creation through processes of value creation through processes of
washing, pre cooling, grading, washing, pre cooling, grading, washing, pre cooling, grading, washing, pre cooling, grading, washing, pre cooling, grading,
packaging, labeling and bar coding. packaging, labeling and bar coding. packaging, labeling and bar coding. packaging, labeling and bar coding. packaging, labeling and bar coding.
Hox 1 : Tallad Thai Market
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
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Agricu!tura! Crcdit
Credil has ¡layed a significanl role su¡¡orling lhe
lransformalion of Thai Agricullure. The role of lhe ßank for
Agricullure and Agricullural Coo¡eralives (ßAAC) of Thailand
in lhis direclion is exlraordinary. A slale enler¡rise eslablished
in 1966 al a lime vhen very fev Thai farmers had land lille
documenls vhich could be considered acce¡lable as securily
for bank loans, ßAAC ado¡led }oinl Iiabilily as lhe ¡rinci¡al
basis of loan securily, vhich has been al lhe hearl of ßAAC's
o¡eralions ever since.
In lerms of oulreach, ßAAC's coverage of 5.53 million farm
households re¡resenling 95% of all Thai farm households is
unique in Asia and in lhe develo¡ing vorld as a vhole.
Iarmers are exlended credil under lhe |oinl liabilily model
u¡lo Thai ßahl 150,000 vilhoul lhe requiremenl of
morlgaging land. The sheer ¡orlfolio of lhe bank of ISD 11.7
billion, of vhich 85% is relail credil lo individual farmers
reflecls lhe im¡orlanl role ¡layed by ßAAC in agricullural credil.
syslemalic and vell designed slralegy involving all lhe
¡layers lhal made il ¡ossible.
5tructurc and sizc nI cxpnrt markcts
Thailand is ranked as vorld's 14lh largesl food ex¡orler. Ils
share in global food lrade is only 0.2 ¡ercenl in lerm of value
(only 1/7lh of lhe Iniled Slales, lhe vorlds leading food
ex¡orler). Hovever, in lerms of fishery ¡roducls, Thailand is
lhe leading ex¡orler of frozen, shrim¡, and canned luna, one
of lhe lo¡ five sugar ex¡orlers, and lhe main ex¡orler for
lro¡ical fruils and baby corn. In Asia, Thailand is lhe second
food ex¡orler nexl lo China vhile being lhe lo¡ ex¡orler of
¡rocessed food. The lable belov shovs lhe lolal value of food
ex¡orl during lhe lalesl four years and indicales lhe groving
Inlernalional demand for Thai food.
HOX ±: Joint Liability Groups
Thc basic rcquircmcnt Inr avai!ing BAAC
!nans is that Iarmcrs aItcr passing thc
c!igibi!ity critcria nI BAAC Inrm thcmsc!vcs
intn grnups nI pcnp!c whn knnw and trust
cach nthcr. Thcsc grnups may vary in sizc
Irnm 5 tn 30, but in practicc, mnst grnups
cnnsist nI 12 tn 15 Iarmcrs. Each ycar thc
grnup mcmbcrs whn want tn bnrrnw sign a
cnntract in which thcy acccpt !iabi!ity nnt
nn!y Inr thcir individua! !nan but a!sn Inr
!nans bnrrnwcd by nthcr mcmbcrs nI thc
grnup. Hcncc thc tcrm "|nint !iabi!ity". In
thc rarc casc whcrc |nint !iabi!ity bnrrnwcrs
arc prncccdcd against Inr nnn-rcpaymcnt, thc
whn!c grnup is invn!vcd in thc !cga! actinn.
The services ¡rovided by ßAAC exlend beyond Savings and
Ioans and are driven by a ¡hiloso¡hy of ´Develo¡ lhe farmer
firsl and lhen follov by loan¨. ßAAC underlakes agricullural
exlension aclivilies in farming lo reduce cosls and im¡rove
farm ¡roduclivily.
Fncus nn Markcts
The grovlh of lhe Thai economy has been lied direclly lo
grovlh in ex¡orls. Il vas nol a mere accidenl lhal lhe economic
miracle lhal lransformed lhe economy ha¡¡ened bul il vas a
Tab!c 1: Thai!and's Innd cxpnrt 2003-2006
Ycar Bi!!inn Thai Baht
2003 470.6
2004 507.0
2005 524.0
2006 571.7
Iood ex¡orls re¡resenls more lhan lhree-quarlers of Thai
agricullural and food ex¡orl value, 17.2 ¡ercenl of lhe lolal
ex¡orl value from Thailand. The ex¡orl value has been
increasing al an average rale of 9.2 ¡ercenl annually des¡ile
lhe bahl devalualion. The mosl im¡orlanl food ex¡orl is
fishery ¡roducls vilh lhe ma|or share of 43 ¡ercenl in lolal
food ex¡orl, folloved by fruils and vegelables al 10 ¡ercenl,
meal ¡roducls, mainly ¡oullry, al 8 ¡ercenl, sugar and
confeclionaries al 7 ¡ercenl, animal feedsluffs al 5 ¡ercenl,
and olher food ¡roducls (beverages, s¡ices, dairy ¡roducls,
coffee, lea and cocoa, fals and oils) al 7 ¡ercenl. The main
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im¡orling counlries of agro-¡rocessed ¡roducls from
Thailand are Iniled Slales (37%), }a¡an (28%), Indonesia,
Auslralia, Canada and Singa¡ore (5% each) folloved by
Germany, Hong Kong and lhe Nelherlands (4% each) and
Myanmar (3%). Ior agricullural ¡roducls, lhe main
im¡orling counlries are }a¡an (32 ¡ercenl), Iniled Slales (19
¡ercenl) folloved by China(9 ¡ercenl), lhe Nelherlands (8
¡ercenl), Singa¡ore (7 ¡ercenl), Hong Kong (7 ¡ercenl),
Malaysia (6 ¡ercenl), Taivan (5 ¡ercenl), Nigeria (4 ¡ercenl)
and Korea (3 ¡ercenl).
Dnmcstic Markct
The Thai domeslic markel slands equal in size lo lhe ex¡orl
markel and in lerms of ¡urchasing ¡over and qualily is as
exacling as lhe ex¡orl markels. The size of lhe Thai vork
force nov exceeds 34 million, vilh a ma|orily of lhe vorkforce
under 30 years of age. Thais living in urban areas have become
brand conscious and lheir sho¡¡ing ¡allern has moved avay
from lhe lradilional o¡en-air vel markels lo modern
su¡ermarkels and sho¡¡ing cenlers vhich offer convenience
and a vide seleclion of ¡roducls. Changing ealing habils of
Thais are greally benefilling lhe reslauranl seclor in Thailand.
A conlinuous increase in lhe number of heallh-conscious
consumers is leading lo higher demand for heallh and
funclional food and drinks. Consumers are also ealing oul
more frequenlly. Thailand also being one of lhe lo¡ lourisl
deslinalions, high grovlh in lhe number of holels, resorls
and olher lourisl accommodalion conlinues lo lead lo an
increase in lhe demand for food ilems.
Thailand fealures a groving relail induslry vhich's looking
for nev and innovalive food ¡roducls. I¡¡er and middle-
income grou¡s in Thailand like lo s¡end money on food,
es¡ecially during lhe holidays. Consum¡lion of food ¡roducls
¡eak during Nev Year, Chrislmas, Chinese Nev Year and
lhe Thai Nev Year seasons aided by gifls of food vhich are
becoming more and more common. Seafood, meals, nuls,
baking ¡roducls, breakfasl cereals, canned foods, dairy
¡roducls, fresh fruil and vegelables, frozen ¡roducls, fruil
|uice, and alcoholic beverages are lhe ¡roducls vilh largesl
demand.
To undersland hov lhe Thai domeslic markel is considered
by olher develo¡ed nalions, il is inleresling lo quole from a
lrade advisory of lhe Canadian mission vhich slales, ´To
¡romole Canadian ¡roducls in Thailand, Canadian firms
should em¡hasize lheir slrenglhs in qualily, innovalion, and
safely. Canadian ex¡orlers musl ¡rovide reliable ¡roducl
availabilily, consislenlly su¡¡lying a qualily ¡roducl, lechnical
su¡¡orl, and informalion su¡¡orl. Credibilily is exlremely
im¡orlanl lo bolh Thai im¡orlers and consumers. Your
business should malch your ex¡orl volume ca¡abililies lo lhe
sale volume ca¡abililies of lhe relail channel.¨ This is leslimony
lo vhal lhe Thai domeslic food markel is.
Agrn Prnccssing
There are over 10,000 food ¡rocessing com¡anies in Thailand,
85 ¡ercenl of lhem small enler¡rises and collage induslries.
The food ¡rocessing induslry covers a diverse range of ¡roducl
segmenls. The malurily and lechnological develo¡menl of
¡roducls and markels in each of lhe segmenls vary
considerably. The 15 ¡ercenl lhal are medium and large
enler¡rises com¡rise 1,234 lisled com¡anies. They are cold
slorage ¡lanls (20.8 ¡ercenl), grain and lubers (17.8 ¡ercenl),
frozen meal including ¡oullry meal (10.9 ¡ercenl), slarch
(10.0 ¡ercenl), canned fruil and vegelables (7.4 ¡ercenl), fal
and oil (7.3 ¡ercenl), sugar and honey (5.9 ¡ercenl), coffee
and lea (4.9 ¡ercenl), canned meal and seafood (3.9 ¡ercenl),
snacks (3.2 ¡ercenl) and olhers (8.3 ¡ercenl).
Packaging
Thai food vas lradilionally ¡acked in voven bamboo baskels,
¡laslic boxes and vooden boxes made of ¡ara-rubber vood.
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Since such ¡ackaging did nol effeclively ¡rolecl lhe ¡roduce
during lrans¡orl, lhere vere lremendous losses. In addilion,
lhese ¡ackages vere uncom¡elilive in lhe vorld markel, in
lerms of a¡¡earance, ease of handling, use and dis¡osal, and
slrenglh ¡ro¡erlies. Since lhe 1980's Thai ¡rocessors have
realized lhe im¡orlance of im¡roving lhe slandards of
¡ackaging for ¡roducls sold bolh domeslically and overseas
and are exlensively using modern ¡acking melhods including
shrink vra¡ vilh food
grade ¡laslic lo minimize
conlaminalion, im¡rove
shelf life of food ¡roducls
and enhance ¡resenlalion
and visual a¡¡eal vhile al
lhe same lime ¡rolecling
againsl s¡oilage and
delerioralion in qualily.
The Thai Iackaging Cenlre, a non-¡rofil slale enler¡rise,
carries oul research and develo¡menl, lesling and educalion
including informalion, consullancy, and lraining on
¡ackaging lo hel¡ im¡rove and ¡reserve lhe qualily of
¡roducls, decrease losses during lrans¡orlalion, raise ex¡orl
and u¡-grade ¡ackaging slandards.
Fnnd 5aIcty
The exlremely slricl and slringenl ado¡lion of food hygiene,
qualily and safely slandards is lhe hallmark of lhe Thai food
induslry. Over lhe lasl cou¡le of years, lhe Thai governmenl
has clearly em¡hasized food securily and safely by ¡romoling
´safe food ¡roducls¨ for bolh domeslic and inlernalional
markels. Thailand's ambilion lo eslablish ilself as lhe 'Kilchen
of lhe World' has dramalically increased avareness aboul,
and focus on, safe
and durable
¡rocessed food and
lherefore high levels
of safely and qualily
assurances are being
im¡lemenled.
The Minislry of
Agricullure and
Coo¡eralives has
im¡lemenled a seal of qualily assurance (Q mark) ¡olicy,
vhich is a ´lraceabilily syslem¨ vilh a nalional farmer
regislralion dalabase for im¡orlanl commodilies such as
shrim¡, ¡oullry, fruils elc. and an e-cerlificale for movemenl,
heallh and ex¡orl of agricullural ¡roducls. This hel¡s lrack
¡roduce from lhe farm lo sho¡ shelves and lhereby limils lhe
damage from food incidenls as vell as im¡roves lhe efficiency
of lhe food su¡¡ly chain. Lven lhe 9000 odd collage and
small enler¡rises mainlain lhe highesl slandards of qualily
and hygiene vhich is lhe key lo lheir com¡eliliveness and
access lo some of lhe vorld's mosl demanding markels vhich
have slringenl and exacling access slandards. This has enabled
recognilion of Thai ¡roducls in lhe vorld markels. The larger
unils follov lhe qualily slandards ¡rescribed by lhe markels
lhey serve including, LIRLGAI/CHINAGAI/}AIANGAI,
HACCI and ßRC/IOC.
The Nalional ßureau of Agricullural Commodily and Iood
Slandards develo¡s slandards for agricullural commodilies
and food ¡roducls, acls as an accredilalion body by ins¡ecling
and cerlifying ¡roducl slandards al farm level ¡roduclion and
¡rocessing slages and regislering cerlifying bodies for
agricullural ¡roducls and food ¡roducls for ex¡orl. Il also
monilors and evaluales ¡rogrammes on food safely. The
delails of ins¡eclion and cerlificalion ¡rocedures as folloved
in Thailand are ¡rovided in lhe flov charls in lhe Annexure.
Prnmnting Thai Cuisinc
Thailand's lourism induslry has a unique hislory. During lhe
engagemenl of lhe Iniled Slales in lhe Vielnam War, lhe
American Army used Thailand as a base for resl and
recu¡eralion for lheir GIs. The ¡resence of lhe IS forces nol
only led lo an inflov of business inlo lhe economy bul resulled
in lhe veslernizalion of lhe cullure in lhese cenlers. Iong
afler lhe conclusion of lhe var, vilh lhe veslern lifeslyle being
desired by lhe ¡eo¡le of olher nalions and considering lhe
general ¡eaceful nalure of lhe Thai ¡eo¡le and lhe lov cosl of
living, Thailand began lo allracl leisure lourisls in large
volumes from all around lhe globe. As lhe lourisl influx
increased, along vilh Thai lourism, Thai Cuisine also gained
¡o¡ularily.
According lo various nulrilion sludies, lradilional Thai food
and vegelables are high in nulrilional value. Moreover,
lradilional Thai diel consisls of many herbs lhal are full of
nulrienls lhal are good for heallh. Thai lradilion slales lhal
diel should be ´¡rinci¡ally rice and vegelables¨ and lhal
´¡rolein should come from various ly¡es of fish¨. Thus, ´Thai
food is food for your heallh.¨
Almosl all Thai food is cooked vilh fresh ingredienls, including
vegelables, ¡oullry, ¡ork, fish and some beef. Iime |uice,
lemon grass and fresh coriander give lhe food ils characlerislic
lang, vhile liberal hel¡ings of fresh chillies are used lo add
some fire lo many dishes. Olher common seasonings include
black ¡e¡¡er, ginger, lamarind, and coconul milk vhich are
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
21
oflen added lo curries. Thailand's cuisine is regarded by many ¡eo¡le as one of
lhe besl in lhe vorld. And, if variely is lhe s¡ice of life, one can lilerally have a
differenl meal every day of lhe year.
Some of lhe ¡o¡ular dishes of Thailand are described belov:
Pnpu!arizing Thai Cuisinc Intcrnatinna!!y - Ovcrscas Thai
rcstaurants
Thai cuisine vas nol videly served oulside of Thailand unlil lhe recenl ¡asl.
Ioreign visilors vere firsl ex¡osed lo Thai food in lhe 1960s, lhe beginning of
lhe inlernalional lourism induslry in Thailand. Today, lhere are 12,155 Thai
reslauranls overseas, 49% of lhem in lhe Iniled Slales and Canada, 20% in
Luro¡e, 15% in Auslralia and Nev Zealand, 14% in Asia and 2% in olher
counlries. Thai cuisine is markeled as ´Heallhful and slimming,¨ and mosl
Thai reslauranls in melro¡olilan cilies loday serve non-Thai cuslomers.
Allhough many Thai reslauranls are ovned by non-Thais, lhe vell-eslablished
and highly recognized ones are run by Thai immigranls. They hire all Thai
vail slaff and recruil ex¡erienced cooks from Thailand so lhal lheir reslauranls
re¡resenl ´real¨ Thai ealing eslablishmenls. They also order ingredienls (rice,
fish sauce, coconul milk, elc.) as vell serving
dishes and decoralive ilems and ¡roducls
such as rallan chairs, and even menus from
Thailand.
Though Thai food has |usl begun lo reach
a global clienlele, il has ra¡idly gained
inlernalional ¡o¡ularily. According lo a
survey on cuisine ¡erce¡lion conducled by
lhe Kellogg School of Managemenl of lhe
IS, Thai food is ranked al number four,
afler Ilalian, Irench, and Chinese, for lhe
food lhal firsl comes lo lhe minds of
res¡ondenls vhen asked lo name elhnic
cuisines. Il is ranked number six behind
Ilalian, Irench, }a¡anese, Chinese, and
Indian for lhe queslion ´vhal is your
favorile cuisine`¨ Thai food allracls a
Weslern audience as a heallhy and non-
fallening diel.
Thc "Kitchcn nI thc Wnr!d"
Prn|cct
The Thai governmenl has ¡romoled lhe
globalizalion of Thai cuisine by launching
lhe ´Kilchen of lhe World¨ ¡ro|ecl, vhich
aims al ¡romoling Thai food in lhe
inlernalional arena. The goal of lhe ¡ro|ecl
is lo increase lhe number of Thai reslauranls
overseas lo 20,000 by 2008. The
governmenl encourages Thai inveslors lo
invesl in Thai reslauranls overseas and
¡rovides su¡¡orl in lhe forms of lraining,
informalion, and finance. The governmenl
ho¡es lhal lhe ¡ro|ecl vill generale foreign
income nol only from lhe sales of food and
service overseas bul also from adding value
lo agricullural and food ¡roducls vhich
have been Thailand's leading ex¡orls.
Gacngmus-sa-man Rich s¡icy curry vilh beef or chicken.
Gacng kari gai Mild yellov curry vilh chicken.
Gacng khiaw waan Sveel green curry vilh coconul milk and
shrim¡, chicken, or beef.
Tnm yam kung S¡icy sou¡ vilh lime |uice, lemon grass,
mushroom and shrim¡.
Tnm khaa gai Sou¡ vilh galangal rool, chicken feel and
coconul milk.
Gacng |cud Chilly free sou¡ vilh vegelables and minced
¡ork.
Khan phat Iried rice vilh shrim¡, beef, ¡ork or chicken.
Khan man gai Sliced boiled chicken over marinaled rice.
Khan na phct Roasl duck over rice.
Kuay-tiaw nam Sou¡ vilh rice noodles, meal and vegelables.
Laat naa Rice noodles, meal and vegelables in a lhick
gravy.
Phad siyu Iried rice noodles vilh meal and vegelables
5ang kha-yaa Coconul cuslard.
maphranw
K!uay khack Iried banana.
Mamuang khan Ri¡e mango vilh slicky rice in coconul cream.
niaw
BOX 3 : Pnpu!ar Dishcs nI Thai!and
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
22
In prnmnting Thai cuisinc intcrnatinna!!y, thc gnvcrnmcnt
prinritizcs standardizatinn and qua!ity. Tn cnntrn! thc standard
nI Thai rcstaurants nvcrscas, thc gnvcrnmcnt is awarding thc
"Thai 5c!cct" !abc! tn qua!iIicd rcstaurants. Thai Airways
Intcrnatinna! and thc Tnurism Authnrity nI Thai!and arc thc
gnvcrnmcnt's agcnts in sc!ccting qua!iIicd Thai rcstaurant
nvcrscas. Thai Airways transpnrts Innd itcms Irnm Thai!and
tn Thai rcstaurants in dcstinatinn cnuntrics tn guarantcc
Ircshncss nI Innd prnducts.
Tnurism and thc G!nba!izatinn nI Thai cuisinc
The inlernalionalizalion of Thai food also ¡romoles lhe Thai
lourism induslry. Cuslomers vho dine in elhnic Thai
reslauranls consume nol only food bul also lhe ex¡erience of
being and ealing lhere. Thai reslauranls in vorld cilies are
decoraled in vays lhal em¡hasize Thai cullure and creale
Thai almos¡here, lhey dis¡lay Thai classical ¡ainlings,
scul¡lures, silk curlains, ßuddha images, and ¡iclures of
¡eo¡le and ¡laces in Thailand. Mosl Thai reslauranls ¡lay
Thai music and serve food in blue and vhile vares. Some
reslauranls serve food in vooden bovls and use banana
leaves lo decorale lheir dishes vhile vail slaff valk around
in lradilional Thai allire. ´Amazing Thailand¨ is lhe slogan
used lo suggesl lhal ealing in a Thai reslauranl offers lhe
same vonderful ex¡erience as lraveling in Thailand.
Futurc Out!nnk
Thailand is lhe only nel food ex¡orler in Asia and nalurally
vanls lo remain in lhis lucralive ¡osilion. Il is already
encounlering com¡elilion from olher counlries such as
Vielnam and India in rice and shrim¡, ßrazil in chicken,
China in fruils and vegelables and Malaysia in halal food. If
Thailand is going lo mainlain and build on ils markels, il
vill have lo live u¡ lo lhe very lighl qualily slandards sel
¡arlicularly by lhe large ex¡orl markels of Iniled Slales,
lhe Luro¡ean Inion and }a¡an, bul also increasingly by lhe
domeslic markel along vilh a lrend lovards environmenlal
¡ackaging malerials. The buoyancy of lhe domeslic markel
also ¡resenls lremendous o¡¡orlunilies vilh largesl grovlh
segmenls is in lhe area of liquid ¡roducls (including sofl drinks,
beer, fruil |uices). As lifeslyles in Thailand change ra¡idly
lovards lhe need for more convenience and ease in food
¡re¡aralion, lhere is ¡arlicularly grovlh ¡olenlial in lhe areas
of canning, convenience and fasl food, relail level bakeries,
snack foods and confeclionary dairy ¡roducls.
Thus, Thailand has nol only made a mark for ilself in lhe
food seclor and vhile mainlaining ils dominance in lhe large
ex¡orl markels like lhe IS and Luro¡ean union, Thailand is
carefully and slralegically making inroads inlo markels like
lhe former Soviel Re¡ublics (CIS counlries), China and India.
In facl, lalesl indicalions are lhal Thailand is likely lo enler
inlo a free lrade agreemenl vilh India very soon. Il is also
vorking vilh various counlries lo address lhe issues non-lariff
barriers lo lrade lo ¡romole ex¡orls. (ßox 4). Thailand has
lhus develo¡ed a slrong foolhold in food markel credil and
also ¡re¡ared ilself lo face a fulure lhal is going lo be fiercely
com¡elilive.
Prnducc Rcstrictinn Cnuntry
Mango, mangosleen VHT Trealmenl }a¡an
Durian Ieeling/¡ackaging Auslralia
Mangosleen VHT/Calyx removal Auslralia
Iinea¡¡le Decrovning Auslralia
ßelel nul Iumigalion Taivan
6 fruils Irradialion I.S.A.
Iommelo Canker disease free The Nelherlands
Box 4: Non-Tariff Barriers faced by Thai Box 4: Non-Tariff Barriers faced by Thai Box 4: Non-Tariff Barriers faced by Thai Box 4: Non-Tariff Barriers faced by Thai Box 4: Non-Tariff Barriers faced by Thai Agricultural Produce Agricultural Produce Agricultural Produce Agricultural Produce Agricultural Produce
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
23
Pntcntia! and Oppnrtunity Inr India
In India, 52% of lolal land is cullivable as againsl 11% in lhe
vorld. All 15 ma|or climales of lhe vorld exisl in India. There
are 20 agro-climalic regions and nearly 46 oul of 60 soil ly¡es
in lhe counlry. Sunshine hours and day lenglh are ideally
suiled for round lhe year cullivalion of cro¡s. India is lhe
cenlre for biodiversily in ¡lanls, animals, insecls, micro-
organism and accounls for 17% animal, 12% ¡lanls and 10%
fish genelic resources of lhe globe. In lhe live slock seclor,
India has 16% of callle, 57% of buffalo, 17% of goals and 5 %
of shee¡ ¡o¡ulalion of lhe vorld. Agricullure conlribules
18.5% lo GDI, 15.2% of lolal ex¡orls and ¡rovides
em¡loymenl lo 58.4% of counlry's vork force.
India is thc
Second highesl fruil and vegelable ¡roducer in lhe
vorld (134.5 million lones) vilh cold slorage
facililies available only for 10% of lhe ¡roduce.
Second highesl ¡roducer of milk vilh a cold
slorage ca¡acily of 70,000 lonne.
Iiflh largesl ¡roducer of eggs.
Sixlh largesl ¡roducer of fish vilh harvesling
volumes of 5.2 million lones.
In s¡ile of lhe vasl nalural resources and abundanl agricullural
¡roduce, India ranks belov 10lh in ex¡orl of food ¡roducls.
Lslimales ¡ul ¡rocessing levels in lhe fruils and vegelables
seclor al 2%, meal and ¡oullry al 2%, milk al 14%, fish al
4%, bulk meal de-boning al 21%. Currenlly, lhe food
¡rocessing seclor, lhough in lhe nascenl slage, conslilules 14%
of manufacluring GDI amounling lo ¡roducls value of Rs.2,
80,000 Crore. Il em¡loys 13 million ¡ersons and is su¡¡osed
lo increase al an annual rale of 7%.
Thc Indian Fnnd Prnccssing Industry
The food ¡rocessing induslry has an im¡orlanl role lo ¡lay in
linking lhe farmers lo lhe final consumers in lhe domeslic as
vell as lhe inlernalional markels as can be seen from lhe
ex¡erience of Thailand. Iood ¡rocessing combined vilh
markeling has lhe ¡olenlial of solving lhe basic ¡roblems of
agricullural sur¡luses, vaslages, rural |obs, and beller
remuneralion lo lhe grovers. Agricullural ¡roduce, if
¡rocessed and markeled smarlly, can make India a leading
food su¡¡lier of lhe vorld.
India vilh a ¡o¡ulalion of 1.10 billion (groving al aboul 1.7
% ¡er annum) ¡rovides a large and groving markel for food
¡roducls. Iood ¡roducls are lhe single largesl com¡onenl of
¡rivale consum¡lion ex¡endilure, accounling for as much as
49% of lhe lolal s¡ending. Iurlhermore, lhe u¡vard mobilily
of income classes and increasing need for convenience and
hygiene is driving demand for (a) ¡erishables and non food
sla¡les and (b) ¡rocessed foods. Also, ealing oul is a booming
¡raclice in urban India and ¡rocessed foods are acce¡led as
allernalive lo lhe home cooked food because of lhe convenience
lhey offers. Also, vilh lhe globalizalion of lrade and
availabilily of high s¡eed logislics, food relailers in develo¡ed
counlries are sourcing a year-round su¡¡ly of fruils and
vegelables from develo¡ing counlries. Thus, bolh for local
consum¡lion as vell for ex¡orl lhere is a year round
o¡¡orlunily for fruils and vegelables, meal and ¡oullry
¡roducls and ready lo eal ¡rocessed foods.
Thc Fnnd 5upp!y Chain
India has a huge o¡¡orlunily lo become a leading global food
su¡¡lier if only il has lhe righl markeling slralegies and of
course agile, ada¡live and efficienl su¡¡ly chain. India has
diversily in lerms of ils ¡o¡ulalion vilh several religious
grou¡s vilh differenl food habils and cullure. This diversily
should be used lo advanlage lo become lhe ´Halal Iood
Hub¨, lhe ´Organic food hub¨, lhe ´Vegelarian food hub¨
lhe ´Sea food hub¨ among olhers.
The ¡olenlial and o¡¡orlunilies for India lhus are boundless.
A forvard looking ¡olicy and crealion of conducive
environmenl for lhe grovlh of lhe seclor can see lhe
lransformalion of Indian Agribusiness.
L Thailand is lhe only nel food ex¡orler in Asia.
L Thailand has a lolal area of 513,115 sq.km, 45% of vhich is used for agricullural ¡roduclion.
L Agricullural ¡roduclion em¡loys aboul 60% of lhe counlry's labor force bul accounls for aboul 13% of GDI
only vhile lhe induslrial seclor vhich em¡loys 12% of lhe 36 million labor force conlribules 32% lo lhe GDI.
Thai Iood Industry.at a glance
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
24
L Thailand's ferlile soil bounliful valer resources have largely conlribuled lo ils ¡roduclion sur¡luses vhich
used lo be exchanged vilh olher commodilies in lhe early days.
L Thailand is one of lhe vorld's leading ¡roducers of rice, ¡roducing aboul 24 million lons and is one among lhe
vorld's largesl su¡¡liers of sugar, la¡ioca and ¡inea¡¡le.
L Tro¡ical fruils are abundanl and currenlly, Thailand is lhe vorld's leading su¡¡lier of longan, durian,
mangosleen and longkong.
L Thailand earns aboul IS$10billion annually from food manufacluring alone.
L Iood manufacluring slarled only in lhe 70's bul lhe counlry nov ranks among lhe lo¡ len ex¡orlers of lhe
folloving food commodilies.
World's largesl ex¡orler of canned ¡inea¡¡le, ¡inea¡¡le |uice and concenlrales
Second largesl ex¡orler of seafood (es¡ecially luna)
World's largesl ex¡orler of frozen shrim¡s
One of lhe lo¡ len ex¡orlers of frozen chicken.
L In 2001, lhe food ex¡orl of Thailand vas vorlh 444.71 billion bahl vhich vas aboul 15.0% of lhe counlry's
2.89 lrillion bahl ex¡orls.
L There are more lhan 9,000 faclories in Thailand consisling of small-, medium-and large scale ¡lanls vhich
em¡loy aboul 600,000 ¡ersons.
L Through lechnology lransfer and a combinalion of ¡erseverance and aggressive delerminalion on lhe ¡arl of
lhe ¡rivale enlre¡reneurs, lhe business of food ¡roduclion for ex¡orls has ¡ros¡ered.
L The develo¡menl of lhe food induslry is closely associaled vilh lhe counlry's enlry lo inlernalional lrade.
L 1960-70: Thailand subsliluled mosl of ils im¡orled ¡roducls vilh ils ¡roducl sur¡luses. Technology vas
im¡orled from Taivan and }a¡an.
L 1970-80: Il vas only al lhis slage lhal lhe counlry slarled lo earn from lhe ¡rocessed ¡roducls ex¡orls. Iroducls
vere inilially largeled for local consum¡lion and sur¡luses vere ex¡orled. Iacking in ex¡erience in bulk
¡roduclion and markeling, ¡roducers fell lhe need lo im¡rove lheir lechnical knov-hov lo im¡rove ¡roducl
qualily lo inlernalional slandards.
L 1980-90: This slage vas characlerized by ils ra¡id ¡ace of develo¡menl vilh lhe counlry's ex¡orl regislering
a 26% grovlh rale in 1990s, accounled for moslly by frozen and chilled commodilies.
L 1990 onvards: The ¡resenl slage is lovards high com¡elilion in lhe vorld markels. Greal concern is nov
¡laced on hygiene and sanilalion of ¡roduclion, food safely, vholesomeness, ¡roduclion cosls, value-added,
slandards, environmenl and regulalions.
5tagcs in Dcvc!npmcnt nI thc Thai Fnnd Industry
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
25
Anncxurc
CAB CALLING April-June, 2007
26
5AA?J 4ABAHA?AI
1. Agricu|turc cn! Agri-|cc! Ccnc!c (2004) T|ci|cn!÷Agri-|cc! Ccuntrq Prcji|c ju|q 2004
2. 8AAC cxpcricncc wit| jcint |ic|i|itq |cn!ing ÷ tirtuc| |i|rcrq cn micrcjincncc.
3. 8ccr! cj |ntcstmcnt, T|ci|cn! (2003) Agricu|turc cn! Agrc |n!ustrq in T|ci|cn! Octc|cr 2003.
4. CA8 (2007) Agrc Prcccssing cn! Agricu|turc 8usincss Scctcr in T|ci|cn! c Mc|cqsic - |cpcrt cj t|c pcrticipcnts cj t|c
|ntcrncticnc| Prcgrcmmc ÷ jcnucrq 19-31, 2007.
5. Or.S.Vcn|ctcs|, Sumcn Ncupcnc cn! Mit|i|cs| Agcrwc| A|T, SOM (2003) Ccsc cn |cc! cn! 8ctcrcgc |n!ustrq in T|ci|cn!.
6. |sc|c||c Oc|jcrgc (2004) T|ci|cn!. t|c \cr|!´s Kitc|cn.
7. Mc Kinscq Qucrtcr|q (1997) |n!ic´s S|ccping Gicnt-|cc!.
8. N.Vis|wcnc!|cn (2006) Ccn |n!ic |c t|c jcc! |cs|ct cj t|c wcr|!? \cr|ing Pcpcr, |n!icn Sc|cc| cj 8usincss.
9. Ncticnc| |cc! |nstitutc, T|ci|cn! wc|sitc |ttp. www.nji.cr.t|.
10. Prc|crcn Virc|u|, (2007) Prcscntcticn ct t|c Scmincr c ´Ictcst !ctc|cpmcnts cn! c|c||cngcs in |cc! Scjctq´ AP|C |cc!
Scjctq Cccpcrcticn |crm 2007, 3 Apri| 2007, Huntcr Vc||cq, Austrc|ic.
11. |ucngrc Tc|risnc (2003) T|ci|cn!, Pccijic |cc! Sqstcm cut|cc|, 2002-03.
12. |cqc| Ocnis| |m|cssq, 8cng|c| (2006) Ocnis| Trc!c Ccunci|. Otcrticw cj t|c mcr|ct jcr |cc! Prcccssing cn! Pcc|cging
Mcc|incs in T|ci|cn!.
13. Supcc|c Sct|c|crn (2004)´Hcw ccn pu||ic |cn| ccntri|utc in rurc| crccs´ AP|ACA |cgicnc| Sqmpcsium Octc|cr 2004,
Tc|rcn.
14. Sirijit Suncntc (2005) T|c G|c|c|izcticn cj T|ci Cuisinc, Pcpcr prcscntc! ct t|c Ccnc!icn Ccunci| jcr Scut|ccst Asicn Stu!ics
Ccnjcrcncc, Ycr| Unitcrsitq, Tcrcntc, Octc|cr 14-16, 2006.
15. Visicn, Strctcgq cn! Acticn P|cn jcr |cc! Prcccssing |n!ustrics Vc|.| c ||, |c|c|cn| |n!ic jcr Ministrq cj jcc! Prcccssing
|n!ustrics, Gctt. cj |n!ic Occcm|cr 2004. (|ttp. mcjpi.nic.in/tis!cc.|tm)