During 2013, several Thai agricultural commodities –and notably rice – were pressured by global economic volatility and the government's subsidies. However, only cassava, being an important economic crop, continued to thrive, thanks to its versatility. Aside from being a staple food crop, cassava has now become an important energy crop, on top of the fact that it can be processed into numerous products. It is expected that Thai cassava exports during 2014 will be promising in volume and value amid strong demand at home and abroad, especially in China.
However, such exports may face several challenges ahead, including: 1) the slowing global economic recovery, particularly in China; 2) growing global cassava production; and, 3) heightened competition from Vietnam, since they are now shipping more to China, as well.
Because our cassava exports are largely in the form of primary processed products, it is imperative that our downstream cassava industry be strengthened. This effort coupled with the use of advanced technologies/innovations should help add value and variety to Thai cassava products. In any case, the Thai cassava industry should maintain its strengths, i.e., product quality, export professionalism and on-time delivery to sustain our competitiveness globally.