Thai Halal Food Industry Attracts the Middle East
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra recently visited Bahrain and Qatar to promote economic cooperation in the halal food industry. A visit from 13 to 16 of May 2012, Thailand signed an MOU on trade and investment in agricultural products especially halal food with both countries.
She gave out a speech on how Thailand and Bahrain had complementary advantages in halal food industry and hoped that both parties would have more cooperation and business partnerships in this segment, ranging from halal food industry to hydroponic farming. She also pointed out that halal food export to Bahrain would help develop Thai economy mainly in the southern border provinces.
Meanwhile, meeting with Qatari business leaders, Prime Minister Yingluck insisted that Thailand is a leading food manufacturer with globally recognized standards. The Government’s campaign “Kitchen of the World” is targeted at supporting food production by establishing a halal food industrial estate in the southern provinces.
Its goal is to draw 1.9 billion Muslim consumers from around the world with Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and countries in ASEAN as the main markets. Thai food products are minimally aware in the Middle East. But under the cooperation with Bahrain and Qatar for halal food industry, Thai halal food exports to the Middle East would be increasing. Thai halal food exports climbed up 30 percent in 2011. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam import more than 60 percent of the production.
Pattani, one of the southern border provinces, is turned into a halal industrial center. In order to attract investors, the Government gives special privileges to invest in the Halal Food Industrial Estate in Panare district of Pattani. In addition, it helps set up the Islamic Bank of Thailand.
Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok has the Halal Science Center that helps develop the standards of Thai halal food.