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Bright Export Prospects to Push Betagro's Output

by 5m Editor
6 January 2010, at 10:32a.m.

THAILAND - Betagro has announced its intention to raise chicken output by 40 per cent this year, targeting particularly Spain and the UK as growing export markets.

Betagro Group, one of Thailand's leading integrated agribusiness enterprises, has planned to increase the production capacity of chicken products by 40 per cent this year to cash in on the brighter outlook of chicken exports.

According to Bangkok Post, the expansion covers a new 600- million-baht (THB) cooked-products plant located at its second food complex in Lop Buri province, an increased capacity of processed chicken at Ajinomoto Betagro Frozen Foods (Thailand) Co to 15,000 tonnes a month from 10,000 tonnes, and a larger capacity of hatchery farms under the BFI Broiler Farm Co where 30,000 more chickens will be added per week, the executives said.

"The additional production would support growing demands from our existing markets and new destinations including Spain and South Africa," said Jakkrin Taepaisitphongse senior vice-president for production poultry integration of Betagro Group.

Betagro expects to export about 54,000 tonnes this year, up from 46,000 tonnes it shipped the year before.

The higher volume is in line with the projection of strong chicken exports this year. More than 360,000 tonnes of chicken are forecast to be shipped by Thailand on the back of the economic recovery, from 350,000 tonnes in 2009.

Sanon Liawpairoj, commercial director for the poultry business of Betagro Group, said that Betagro products had been available in many countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, reports Bangkok Post.

Mr Sanon said: "This year, we are focusing on southern Europe, especially Spain, where market potential is strong. Chicken products from Thailand face little competition there as Spain is by and large a tourism-dependent economy."

Trial shipments of about 100 tonnes a month were exported to test the Madrid market last year and the response was good.

"Spanish people prefer tasty and spicy chicken and we have no difficulty catering to their needs," he said.

Betagro has exported frozen semi-cooked, and cooked chicken products to a number of retailers and the food service industry in the UK for quite some time.

Its major customers include British supermarket chains such as Sainsbury, Asda and Tesco.

Mr Jakkrin is confident that the strong corporate name of Betagro would help support the attempt to supply products to other food retailers including Marks & Spencer.

Betagro also broadened its presence in the world food market by participating in the Anuga international food and beverage trade event in Cologne, Germany, last October.

The participation was a chance for the company to showcase its new quality management and production system that would help drive sales to reach THB55 billion this year, up from THB50 billion billed in 2009.

Despite the group's focus on the food-chain industry, it has been working actively to enter the retail market by making ready-to-eat meals under its own brand in the future.

"But gaining a foothold in the retail segment and building a brand take time and a large investment," Mr Jakkrin told Bangkok Post.