The Ministry of Commerce has just signed nine agreements -- memorandums of understanding -- with Hong Kong to export Thai Hom Mali Rice at an average price of US$1,100 per tonne, with the total sales equivalent to approximately Bt33 billion or US$1 billion.
"The government needs to focus on marketing promotion and incentive programmes in order to retain the present export prices. In the past, we held up to 91% share of the market in Hong Kong, now it has dropped to a mere 51%. If we cannot compete in terms of volume, the alternative is to rely on marketing programmes," Vuthipol Wanglee, Deputy Manager of Chaithip Co Ltd, said.
"Our strategy is not to compete with price mechanisms, but to rely on marketing tools to promote Thai Hom Mali Rice as a brand. Doing this, we are able to have a selling point that can further be used to enhance brand value," Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom explained.
Rightfully so, as one of the mechanisms currently in place is the ‘in-store promotion campaign,’ which displays varieties of Thai Hom Mali rice to attract consumers to ‘buy Thai.’
The Thai government has allocated a budget to stimulate retail sales of Thai Rice overseas. For instance in Hong Kong alone, retail sales represent 50 per cent of the total rice market. This means that promotional offers at major supermarkets are a main mechanism to reach targeted consumers equipped with high purchasing power
"We must work together to publicise the advantages of Thai rice. How is it different to other types of rice? There are countless brands. Therefore, it is important for consumers to have access to the right information," Vivat Assawanop, CP Trade assistant manager, said.
The Commerce Ministry is confident that marketing campaigns such as this will help revive the popularity of Thai Hom Mali Rice, and most importantly increase Thailand's competitive edge in the world market once again.