Food export products going through a rough patch, crumble 13%


Agricultural food exports in the first quarter dropped by 13.3 per cent due to the lockdown, with total exports now expected to be minus 8 per cent compared to last year, a Thai National Shippers’ Council member said. 

Instant Food Manufacturers Association president Wisit Limleucha said exports have faced obstacles, particularly logistical problems caused by the Covid-19 crisis. For instance, food exports have been delayed as customs documents were found to contain technical errors. 

March exports expanded 4.17 percent, but excluding gold and oil, they only rose 2 percent. Meanwhile, food exports to the United States and China have seen some benefit as there is demand for more foodstuff from these countries even during this Covid-19 situation. 

However, exports did not expand compared to the same period in 2019 because of the lower number of cargo ships and new directives in other countries owing to the pandemic, Wisit said. 

Exported farm foodstuffs in the first quarter were valued at Bt119.54 billion, 13.3 percent less, while the value of other foods was Bt137.76 billion, a drop of 0.6 percent. The total value of sustenance exports in the first quarter was Bt257.3 billion, minus 6.9 per cent. 

Furthermore, the lower number of tourists has also affected consumption in the country, which is normally valued at Bt2 trillion annually. However, the second half of the year could see an improvement in the situation after hotels and restaurants should reopen. 

Wisit said that after the Covid-19 situation normalises, sales of computers and electronic parts would increase as people become accustomed to staying home. 

“Exports might be minus 8 per cent,” he cautioned, adding that it all depended on the Covid-19 situation easing.