Industry Ministry pushes for Thai food hub in northern region

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BANGKOK, July 15 – Thailand’s Industry Ministry is moving forward toward bringing into reality the plan to materialise the Northern Food Valley project – an ambitious undertaking to upgrade Thailand’s North as a processing hub for agricultural produce and organic food, a high-ranking official said.

Industry Permanent Secretary Witoon Simachokedee said the cabinet has allocated Bt80 million to launch the scheme, including a supply chain of raw materials, food production, processing, marketing and management.

He said the ministry will cooperate with academic institutions in applying research on technology and innovation to strengthen the food processing industry in the North covering Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son where more than 500 food processing factories are located.

The agro food industry in the North has generated revenues of more than Bt2-3 billion each year.

The Northern Food Valley will prepare the region for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and meet the global demand for quality food products, he said.

Mr Witoon said the Netherlands has provided technical and academic assistance in developing the project which will also expand to Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast and Prachuab Khiri Khan in the South.

The First Region Industrial Promotion Centre has joined hands with the  Chambers of Industry in Chiang Mai and the North to hold an agro industrial and organic food exhibition at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport July 31-August 4.

There will be more than 120 booths in the event, to be officially launched by Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk. It is expected to attract more than 15,000 visitors.