By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
At a seminar titled “Thailand: World’s Best Choice”, the Commerce Ministry announced its plan to boost the export of halal foods and measures supporting the growth of halal businesses, in order to serve the expanding Muslim populations across the globe. Permanent secretary Chutima Boonyapraphasara said Muslims made up 27 per cent of the world population, or 1.7 billion people, currently consuming an estimated US$265 billion (Bt9.5 trillion) worth of halal foods a year.
There are expanding opportunities for Thai exports, he added. The government has mapped out a strategy to drive the growth of halal businesses and products as part of the 2016-20 national agenda.
“The number of Muslims worldwide is expected to surge by 73 per cent from 1.7 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050, accounting for one-fourth of the world’s population.
“The rise is also expected to help double the GDP growth of Muslim countries, while demand for halal foods and products will increase considerably,” Chutima said.
In 2020, the Muslim population is expected to reach 2.05 billion, with Thai exports of halal products estimated to jump by five times from the total value of $30 billion in 2014.
Of this amount, $6 billion worth of products will be exported to the United States, with the rest going to Muslim markets.
Currently, Thailand is the world’s 11th-largest halal-food supplier, with its exports accounting for 2.5 per cent of global trade. Major halal export products are rice, sugar, canned and processed seafood, and canned and processed vegetables and fruits.
Meanwhile, under the government's strategy to promote exports, the ministry has identified priority markets and three export sectors for special promotions: foods, garments and ornaments, and spa products and services.