BANGKOK, Nov 18 – Thailand’s Industry Ministry has announced that the country’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for agro-industrial products have been improved so that they will be competitive with those from other countries once the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in 2015.
Deputy Permanent Secretary Pasu Loharnchun said the success resulted from the government’s One Province One Agro-Industrial Product (OPOAI) which since 2007 has helped improve SMEs’ capabilities to compete.
There are currently over 750 entrepreneurs in the OPOAI project, with 157 starting participation this year alone.
He said the sealing wax and mulberry paper businesses from northern Thailand are ready for AEC, while other businesses are to continue improve themselves for further competition in the region. He added that among ASEAN countries, Thailand is only second to Singapore.
According to Mr Pasu, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wished Thai SMEs to count for 40 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), from the current 37-38 per cent. He said SMEs count for 42 per cent of GDP in developed countries.
The OPOAI project aims to develop entrepreneurs’ ability to compete in the market in order to reduce costs and increase production efficiency through a tripatite working system among the public and private sectors as well as educational institutions.
Industry Ministry is planning to push Thai agro-industrial products to become a ‘product champion’ where one province has its own signature product.
There are at present over 57,000 agro-industrial entrepreneurs nationwide, Mr Pasu noted.