The COVID-19 outbreak has caused Thai fruit exports to slow down due to lockdowns in many partner countries. With Thailand’s seasonal fruit about to hit the market, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has sought ways to circumvent this problem by launching a campaign to increase domestic consumption.
The MoC is collaborating with 12 e-commerce platforms with different market expertise to help distribute Thai products, such as mangoes, durians, mangosteen and other fruits.
The platforms are Bigbasket.com (India), Tmall (China), Jatujakmall (Thailand), CloudCommerce (US, Europe and Asia), KlangThai (CLMV), blibli.com (Indonesia), JD.com (China), Ourshop (AirAsia) (Thailand), The Hub Thailand (Thai / CLMV), Thailand Post Mart (Thailand), Thaimart (Middle East) and Amazon (Singapore). It hopes that this will raise approximately 800 million baht in revenue.
The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) is also working with other government agencies to arrange business matching events for companies who retail fresh fruit products and processed fruit products, in order to increase distribution channels for Thai fruit during the fruit season. Some 50 buyers, importers and distributors from India, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, Middle East, the European Union, the USA, and various African countries met more than 80 Thai entrepreneurs.
“These events provide exporters with opportunities to expand new export markets, both offline and online. It also makes buyers and importers recognise the image and potential of Thailand as a producer of good quality agricultural products which meet export standards,” said Somdet Susomboon, Director-General of the DITP.
In addition, two trade agreements were signed between Thailand and Hong Kong and Singapore, worth US$ 36.5 million (approx. 1.1 billion baht). The Singapore trade agreement focuses on dried fruit, while the Hong Kong agreement covers fresh fruit and vegetables such as durian, grapefruit, mango, longan, lemon, asparagus, baby corn and chillies.
India is another promising export market for Thai fruit. Under the Thai-India trade agreement framework, fruit from Thailand, such as longan, mangosteen, durian and guava, carries zero import duty.
“We plan to bring a group of importers of fruit to participate in the five to six business matching events, with fruit products that have a high potential in the Indian market,” said Saithong Soiphet, Commercial Attaché of Thai Trade Center, New Delhi, India. “Indian tourists travelling to Thailand prefer to consume more Thai fruit especially coconut. Longan and mangosteen are already popular in India especially for those with middle to high incomes.”
As part of its fruit marketing plan, the Thai Trade Center, New Delhi will organise promotional activities in conjunction with Reliance retail stores at 20 branches in nine cities, including New Delhi and Jaipur. There will also be a promotional campaign together with Spencer and Nature Basket in North India, which will focus on processed food ingredients and fruit.
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi