From April to August, when tropical fruit is in season, fruit exports generate the highest revenues each year. During 1Q15, Thai fruit exports still grew 6.9 percent YoY, to USD232.9 million, bucking the overall export trend that had contracted 4.7 percent YoY. This upbeat performance reveals the potential of Thai fruit that can earn high revenues if given sufficient support.
Thai fresh fruit is unrivaled by fruit from other exporters, thereby giving us a competitive position to tap into international markets. Global demand for fresh fruit is huge. Producers and exporters of the US, Europe and Japan, albeit with more highly developed production and processing technologies, also sell fresh/dried/chilled/frozen fruit, generating higher income than processed fruit.
Taking a look at our own fruit shipments, processed fruit garners up to 57 percent of Thai fresh and processed fruit exports. This means that with only 43 percent of exports being fresh fruit, opportunities are ample for us to expand sales by focusing on maintaining their original flavor, texture and freshness. Our fresh fruit exports are relatively small, but it should be noted that dried and frozen products spoil the strongest asset of Thai fruit: flavor.
Thus, it is evident that marketing could improve the prospects for Thai fruit. Exporters could penetrate new markets to release oversupply at certain time of year. They might also consider strategizing to capitalize on the US's robust economic growth as well as revitalized buying power of Europe and elsewhere. Such directions could help lower risk for fruit producers that may have suffered from the economic slowdowns in such major markets as China. It would also assist in sustainable growth for Thai fruit exports. KResearch forecasts that more output in 2015 may spur record-high shipments of Thai fresh/dried/chilled/frozen fruit, whereby the total value will likely exceed USD1.36 billion, 7.2 percent higher than the USD1.27 billion of last year's sales which was equivalent to 20-percent growth.
To secure a sustainable share of foreign markets, Thai producers need to optimize their entire supply chains and thereby add distinction to our products, extending their reach to markets beyond Asia. This would likely require streamlining in all processes, from harvesting, to processing and on to logistics. Better packaging could lengthen freshness, as would modern processing with cutting-edge approaches.