Thai ministry explores new markets for chicken exports as domestic sales plummet

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN): The Commerce Ministry is aiming to boost chicken meat exports by 10 per cent this year after Covid-19 dragged domestic consumption down by 50 per cent.

Exports in the second and third quarters are expected to be lower than usual, as importing countries have enforced lockdown measures.

Head of the Thai Association of Poultry Exporters Dr Anan Sirimongkolkasem said that chicken meat export in the first quarter had expanded by 7.21 per cent compared to the last quarter of the previous year, however the lockdown in various countries, especially the US, EU and Japan, might lead to lower exports by 5 per cent.

However, due to dwindling Covid-19 cases in Thailand, the demand for Thai chicken meat is increasing in countries such as Japan and South Korea which usually imported the meat from Brazil where the Covid-19 situation is getting more serious.

The pandemic has led to a 50 per cent slump in domestic chicken consumption, slashing the price from the normal Bt33 to Bt34 a kilo to Bt24 to Bt25 per kilo.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit held discussions with private chicken meat providers and exporters such as CP, Betagro and Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association to evaluate the export situation.

They urged the ministry to seal free trade agreements with the EU and Britain, fixing chicken meat import quota at around 280,000 to 320,000 tonnes a year and to seek lower British import tariff from US$1,000 a tonne.

The ministry also was asked to seek new markets in Japan and to lobby China to approve Thai processed-chicken factories in order to export processed products and expand the duck meat market.

The private sector requested the ministry to establish new markets in South Korea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

“If we can do it, exports will expand by Bt33 billion over last year, totalling Bt140 billion, ” Jurin said.

Some 920,000 tonnes of chicken meat were exported in 2019, valued at Bt109 billion while in the first three months of 2020,230,000 tonnes were exported, increasing 7.21 per cent.

Japan, Britain, China, Netherlands and South Korea are a key factor, he said.

The potential for increase in exports depends on sorting out two types of markets: eight countries that already imported Thai chicken meat, such as Japan, Britain, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Ireland, Canada, South Korea and Singapore, and 19 countries in which Thailand has a low market share, such as the US, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, China, France, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Iraq, Angola, South Africa, Philippines and Taiwan.

Thailand can produce 2.86 million tonnes of chicken meat a year, the eighth biggest provider of the world. Around 60 per cent are for domestic consumption and 40 per cent for exports. - The Nation/Asia News Network

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