Cooperation in the halal food industry was a major topic of discussion during the recent visit of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Bahrain and Qatar to strengthen economic partnership.
During the visit, from 13 – 16 May 2012, Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on trade and investment cooperation in agricultural products, particularly halal food, with both Qatar and Bahrain .
In her speech in Bahrain, Prime Minister Yingluck pointed out that Thailand and Bahrain had complementary advantages in the food industry, including the halal food industry. She hoped that both sides would explore cooperation projects and business ventures in this area, from halal food products to hydroponic farming. The Prime Minister stated that Bahrain’s support for the halal food industry in the southern border provinces of Thailand would contribute to the development of the Thai economy.
In her meeting with Thai and Qatari business people, Prime Minister Yingluck said that Thailand is a leading food producer with internationally recognized standards. Under Thailand’s “Kitchen of the World” strategy, the Government continues to support food production. It has provided support for the establishment of a halal food industrial estate in the southern part of the country.
One of the main targets is to attract 1.9 billion Muslim consumers worldwide. Major markets for Thai halal food include Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and other countries in the ASEAN region. Previously Thai food products were little known in the Middle East. Cooperation with Bahrain and Qatar in the halal food industry is expected to promote Thai halal food exports to the Middle East.
Thai halal food exports in 2011 increased by 30 percent. More than 60 percent of the exports went to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam. The halal food industry has great potential for further growth, as halal food is now in greater demand in the global market.
In order to help develop the halal food industry, Pattani, one of the southern border provinces, is being developed into a halal industrial center. The Government offers special privileges for investors wishing to invest in the Halal Food Industrial Estate, located in Panare district of Pattani. It has also helps in the establishment of the Islamic Bank of Thailand.
The Halal Science Center, in Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, also plays an important role in developing the standards of Thai halal food.
News from Thailand.prd