In 2009, Thailand's food production, as well as related sales, imports and exports have all experienced contractions for the first time in seven years or since 2002. The global crisis has dampened demand for food products, albeit to a lesser degree than other products. Nonetheless, exports of Thai food products are projected to pick up in 2H09 with expected economic rebounds of key trade partners although our full-year export performance will likely total THB744 billion, a YoY contraction of 3.8 percent.
Amid declines in food markets at home and abroad, related public and private agencies should brace themselves for numerous challenges. The Thai food industry has positioned itself to become one of the world's major producers and exporters of brand and value-added food products. To meet this goal, the industry should focus on two areas. In products, we should make our own brands more recognizable and acceptable worldwide. Food production standards should be upgraded to world-class levels. In competition, we have to change from being a made-to-order producer to becoming a producer with a thorough understanding of global consumer behavior in order to meet the diverse needs of different markets. We should aim high in order to rival developed countries, i.e., the US, Japan, European Union and Australia, rather than sticking to competition with other Asian countries or South America. Upgrades in production and competition are needed, which will result in more effective supply chain management.
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