Industry Outlook: Next 40 Years, FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INDUSTRY
The Fruits and Vegetables Manufacturers Group, a member of the Thai Food Processors’ Association, comprises two main groups. The first processed vegetables such as baby corn, bamboo shoots, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, water chestnut and young jackfruit. The second processed fruits such as rambutans, lychees, longans, mangoes, palm fruit, jackfruit and bananas. These fruits and vegetables are canned, dried or extracted as juice. At present, the two groups can earn more than 8,000 million baht a year from exporting their products mainly to the USA, Japan, the Netherlands and the ASEAN countries.
Thai fruits and vegetables are widely recognized in terms of quality and hygiene because Thailand abounds with a wide variety of tasty fruit and vegetables, has efficient processing methods and adopts one of the state-of-the-art quality control systems. As a result, the demand for Thai fruits and vegetables has been increasing. However, due to global warming and climate changes, Thailand is experiencing the snowball effects of a lack of raw agricultural materials, a lack of a plan to promote cultivation and to systematically manage cultivation areas, a lack of labor force and an increase in manufacturing factors such as cans and sugar. These affect the export volume and the sustainable development of this industry. It is believed that in order to achieve the sustainable development of this industry, the whole manufacturing chain must be efficiently managed. This involves creating a balance between raw agricultural materials and processing methods and increasing yields per rai. In addition, food manufacturing and food packaging have to be developed to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers and to fit their lifestyles. Also, this development has to take the environment into consideration as well.
In conclusion, the outlook and the sustainability of this industry have to be developed simultaneously. However, this development should include every step of manufacturing from agriculturalists to customers and our environment. We have improved our manufacturing to maintain our high standards and retain our position as a leading producer of agro products. This is essential because agriculture is the most important industry of the country.