Thailand harvests opportunities on food exports amidst COVID-19 pandemic


BANGKOK – The drought disaster that started in late 2019, plus COVID-19 pandemic, have caused a major slowdown of the Thai economy. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) is now promoting more employment in the agricultural sector, while looking into opportunities for food exports during this global crisis.

Mr Alongkorn Ponlaboot, an Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, said it is likely Thailand will continue to receive large orders for food items, even amidst the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

He said the Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE) has been instructed to come up with 6 and 12 month food product export plans, according to the country’s manufacturing capacity and harvesting timelines, while ensuring sufficient domestic food stock.

Thailand was ranked the globe’s 12th biggest food exporter in 2019, with 1 trillion baht’s worth of farm product exports.

Meanwhile, the MOAC is going ahead with an employment promotion scheme in the agricultural sector, starting with 41,000 job openings in the Royal Irrigation Department’s (RID) 208 projects. These jobs, including maintenance and construction work on the irrigation system; water quality management, and water disaster prevention and mitigation, are reserved for registered persons receiving irrigation support who cannot farm their rice off-season.

The RID has allocated a 3.1 billion baht budget to these projects, which will last 3-7 months. The RID will be offering a 377 baht daily wage to workers, who will receive 24,000-58,000 baht gross income in their period of employment.

In addition, the MOAC will continue to promote animal farming by offering 50 billion baht’s worth of loans through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, available until 30th November this year. The bank has already approved 65 million baht to 13 cattle and goat farming groups in four provinces. (NNT)