Thailand's food exports jump 28%

Bangkok (dpa) - Thailand's food exports earned the kingdom 380 billion baht (11.3 billion dollars) during the first half of this year, up 28 per cent year-on-year, media reports said Thursday.

The huge jump was attributed primarily to price hikes of agricultural commodities, especially rice, that more than doubled during the January-to-June period.

Mr Yuthasak Suphasorn, the Director of the National Food Institute, predicted that earnings from the country's food exports would slow slightly in the second half of 2008, to 367 billion baht (10.9 billion dollars).

Total exports of food products, including agricultural commodities, fish, meat, processed food and beverages, should reach 750 billion baht (22.3 billion dollars) this year, up 20 per cent from last year, Mr Yuthasak projected.

Thailand, the world's largest exporter of rice, is one of Asia's few net exporters of food. Besides rice, it is a major exporter of tapioca, frozen chicken and frozen shrimp.