DIP showcases success of "Thailand Food Valley" Project

General Press Releases Tuesday July 16, 2013 10:12
  • Nine innovative food products introduced to compete in AEC market

The Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) under the Ministry of Industry has showcased the success of the project entitled "Thailand Food Valley" with the introduction of nine outstandingly innovative food products intended to compete in the AEC market. This is a result of a research-manufacturing collaboration between DIP and leading educational institutes such as King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Chulalongkorn University, Kasetsart University and Chiang Mai University in an effort to further develop the country's food industry sector.The project has been continued for the second consecutive year, and it has an expanding list of participating entrepreneurs nationwide, with more 160 innovative food products introduced to date. DIP has targeted three strategic regions: the northern region as a center for vegetables and processed fruits; the northeastern for meat; and the southern for fisheries products.According to the Department, Thailand is the leader in food industry in ASEAN. The country is generating more than 981 billion baht in export revenues and reaching an average growth of 1.5% per year. As the implementation of AEAN Economic Community (AEC) will arrive in 2015, it is expected that the country's export figures within ASEAN will improve exponentially. Key export markets are Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. However, to be the regional headquarters for food industry, Thailand should redefine the right and most integrated approach to the development of its food sector, raise standards for food manufacturing and operational efficiency, as well as encourage combined strengths between the government, private and educational sectors. These can help pave the way for Thailand to become a regional hub for food industry and eventually the world's #1 food manufacturing nation - that is in accordance with the government policy to make Thailand the "Kitchen of the World".

DIP director-general Sophon Pholprasit said, "Thailand's food export figures over the last five years shows an exciting growth of over 20% per year and the food manufacturing sector is one of the country's most important economic drivers."

He also said, "In spite of the fact that Thailand is now the biggest food exporter in ASEAN in terms of export value, the country is facing challenges in maintaining reliable manufacturing standards and efficiency. Among others, it is also noticeably affected by rising production costs while it needs to keep up with advanced technology. To be able to fulfill the goal of becoming the Kitchen of the World and the regional hub for food industry within AEC, the Thai food manufacturing sector needs to be dramatically improved in order to meet the global market requirements. This can be achieved through technical support from and collaboration with educational and research institutes, especially in terms of science and technology as well as the strategic development of new products truly relevant to market demands. This development approach, which is called Food Valley, has been widely used in the Netherlands where it got phenomenal success, making the country become a global leader in the processed food industry. It is an original idea for the pilot project called Thailand Food Valley, which was initiated by DIP since late 2012."

"At the beginning DIP has targeted three regions for its pilot phase. For the northern region, Chiang Mai is positioned as the center for vegetables and processed fruits. Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeastern region is the center for meat production. Prachuap Khiri Khan represents the southern region as the center for fisheries products as well as pineapples and coconuts. Moreover, the Department has worked closely in partnership and networking with related organisations such as the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, as well as educational and research institutes specialising in food science research. So far we have developed fruitful partnership with King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Chulalongkorn University, Kasetsart University and Chiang Mai University and Suranaree University of Technology, for instance, to develop new food products. As we aim to lengthen this kind of partnership, we will also continue to collaborate with many other universities nationwide," explained Sophon.

The Thailand Food Valley Project is making a good progress this year with more than 120 participating entrepreneurs being enabled to convert research results into commercial success. By 2014 the Department projects to add 230 entrepreneurs to the network, focusing on processed food products from rice, meat, vegetables and fruits.

"Given the current situation of Thailand's food industry, the country is the ASEAN leader in the food manufacturing industry. According to the National Food Institute, Thailand's food exports in 2013 are expected to surpass 981 billion baht with 1.5% growth. The biggest export markets are Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam respectively. The interpretation of research results into differentiated products both in terms of quality and taste also involves marking progress towards internationally recognised standards like GMP, HACCP and Halal," said Sophon.

Mrs. Wanpen rattanakangwan, director of the Office of Agro-processing Industry Development, under the Department of Industrial Promotion, said that there were many innovative agricultural processed food products tagged with "commercially viable" this year. Nine featured products are as follows:

1. Durian drink - authentic and flavorful 'Mon Thong' durian powder for making a quick drink recipe. This product is intended for the Malaysian and Singaporean markets.
2. Food supplement jelly - highly nutritious jelly formulated to help balance hormones in those experiencing menopause. (It is estimated that 10% of ASEAN population is entering the menopausal age.)
3. Rice diet - specially formulated rice diet for fast weight loss. It is developed to respond the rise of the health food trend in ASEAN.
4. Vegetables in tablet - vegetables mix in tablet form. This helps farmers to transform their produce into an innovative food supplement product that is best for export.
5. Powdered wine - an unconventional wine product that helps boost the expansion of the food manufacturing sector making its way towards "Thailand as the Kitchen of the World".
6. Instant pumpkin soup - the first processed pumpkin soup that can perfectly maintain its flavor and nutritional quality for years.
7. Hom Mali rice pies - a perfect blend of Thai food ingredient and western bakery recipe.
8. Rainbow noodles - an unconventional blend of colourful vegetables, fruits and noodles into a highly nutritious recipe.
9. Gac fruit sauce - a new kind of tasty sauce for the health conscious. It is rich in beta-carotene and lycopene derived from gac fruit.

Roger van Hoesel, Director of Food Valley in the Netherlands, said, "The Food Valley originated from the realisation of our country's strengths in agroindustry and biotechnology that currently create more than 137,000 jobs. Besides, it is a result of strong partnership between local entrepreneurs, government agencies and research institutes to take the industry to a higher level. The Food Valley's emphasis is therefore on promoting collaborations between related organisations and the business sector, and encouraging the development of knowledge networking platform. This can be achieved through facilitating partnerships within the business sector to conduct specialised research studies that benefit the acquisition of knowledge in different fields they are seeking for. The Food Valley currently operates 21 research centers. Members of the Food Valley Society include more than 70 agro-food and food-related businesses such as Kikkoman, Heinz and several others operating more than 235 factories. In Thailand, we are also doing the same thing to help the agro-food and food-related industry to develop further."

DIP offers free consultations to SMEs and the general public. For more information, contact 0 2202 4537 or 0 2202 4594, or visit www.dip.go.th.

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