Business & Travel
It is undeniable that Thailand is the world’s leading rice exporter and has successfully positioned itself as the “Kitchen of the World,” with the annual value of food exports exceed $31 billion USD in 2014, a 7% increase from the previous year according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
On March 2, the Thai Cabinet has geared up its strategic move by granting a Draft strategic plan on Thai Food to the World (2016-2021) made by the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board (NESDB). The Plan focuses on integration of the value chain of food products and services. It consists of a food product development strategy, a food service development strategy, and a development strategy for supporting factors covering manufacturing and exportation of food products and services to meet international standards and maintain food safety based on national food sustainability and security.
Thailand is reportedly among the world’s leading suppliers of staple commodities such as rice, sugar and cassava, and also a leading provider of fresh and canned fish, shrimp, pineapple, and a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as rubber protucts. About 60 % of the country’s exports are to Asian countries. The EU and US markets account for 13 per cent each, Bangkok Post reported. Thailand is currently the 20th largest export market for U.S. agricultural and food products, and the 4th largest in Southeast Asia.
Thailand’s food processing sector is heavily export-oriented with more than 50% of production sold outside the country. Despite the global economic situation, Thai food manufacturers will still seek high-quality food ingredients at reasonable prices.
According to NESDB, Thai economy is projected to grow by 3.5 – 4.5 per cent in 2015 with supporting factors such as the improvement of the export sector, a recovery of the tourism sector, increasing private investment due to the approval of BOI’s investment projects, as well as a forecasted improvement of the global economy.
Bloomberg has recently released the latest research stating the 15 Happiest Economies in the World. This top spot was attributable to Thailand’s very low unemployment rate. At the end of 2014, unemployment stood at 0.56%. The rate had been continually declining since 2002 when unemployment was at 5.73%. Another attributing factor was Thailand’s low inflation. Bloomberg used these two factors to measure the level of economic misery in each country. Out of all the countries, Thailand came out top as the least ‘miserable’.