The Commerce Ministry aims for 4% growth in the volume of fresh and processed fruit exports this year, propelled by robust demand.
According to Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, who chaired a recent joint meeting of ministry officials and fruit-related representatives, the ministry feels bullish about fruit exports, anticipating a 4% increase in both volume and value for shipments of both fresh and processed fruits. This growth is expected to reach 4.19 million tonnes and 300 billion baht.
Exports of fresh fruits alone are expected to rise by 4% in volume to 2.1 million tonnes, with the value anticipated to increase by 5% to 175 billion baht.
Key markets include China, which receives 75% of the total exports, followed by the US, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
According to ministry data, Thailand shipped fresh and processed fruit exports worth 284 billion baht in the first 11 months of last year, with fresh fruit making up 178 billion baht, up 27% year-on-year, frozen and dried fruit at 50.1 billion baht, up by 25.2%, and processed fruit at 56.3 billion baht, down by 10.4%.
Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said that to achieve the target, the ministry plans to promote production and processing by expediting the certification of 120,000 GAP-certified farms and promoting the processing of durian, longan, and mango, aiming for 320,000 tonnes.
Following that, there are seven plans for promoting domestic market strategies. These include creating agricultural contracts for 100,000 tonnes of fruits and distributing 90,000 tonnes outside of production sources with the government providing a management cost subsidy of 3 baht per kilogramme to participating buyers.
The ministry is also committed to enhancing the efficiency of fruit management according to international trade standards for 150,000 tonnes, conducting fruit consumption campaigns, supporting postal services (300,000 boxes) with 3,000 tonnes sent by Thailand Post for free, loading 20kg of fruit for free on selected airlines (Air Asia, Nok Air and Thai Lion Air), and strengthening the liquidity for fruit management with loans of 3.34 billion baht, offering a 3% annual interest subsidy to entrepreneurs purchasing fruit for up to six months.
Additionally, there are six plans for promoting foreign market strategies: cross-border trade events in three regions to distribute Thai fruits to neighbouring countries, business matching initiatives both onsite and online, trade promotion activities and participation in international exhibitions, promotion of seasonal fruit menus through Thai Select restaurants worldwide, creating desserts from seasonal fruits, and supporting trade representatives visiting foreign agricultural trade shows.
Furthermore, Mr Wattanasak said that to enhance trade efficiency, special private-sector-led task forces would be set up to promote and drive fruit exports, while the ministry looks set to advocate for trade benefits from the existing free trade agreements to boost exports, publicise Thai fruits in China and potential markets, negotiate trade measures to reduce taxes and trade barriers, and provide training for marketing skills for domestic and export trade.