Thai group plans US$71M produce market transformation
The owner of the Talaad Thai wholesale market in Rangit has announced a THB2.35 billion (US$71 million) plan to make the premises a hub for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) produce trade, the Bangkok Post reported.
The story reported the two-year move byThai Agro Exchange Co chairman Pradit Phataraprasit was the biggest investment in the bustling produce market - just 43km (27mi) outside of Bangkok - since it was founded almost two decades ago.
Around THB1 billion (US$30 million) will be spent on a refrigerated consolidation center, which will raise capacity threefold to be able to store 3,000 metric tons (MT) of fruits and vegetables, the story reported.
Market upgrades are on the cards, along with a feasibility study to use organic waste from facilities to make electricity.
The company has also planned THB600 million (US$18 million) for buying land to handle 60,000 containers annually, up 357% from existing volumes.
Website Nationalmultimedia.com reported the company would be spending THB2.6 billion (US$78 million) on the project, which also includes Talaad Thai's sister market SiMoomMuang. The executive labeled the plan as an "historic opportunity", with potential to follow in the footsteps of the country's car manufacturing industry.
"Thailand has a huge, natural competitive advantage in this region in the fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaling business because it is a country with a very strong agricultural base," Phataraprasit was quoted as saying.
"It therefore has a real opportunity also to become the fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaling hub for the AEC in the same way that the Netherlands is the fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaling hub for all of Europe.
"If Talaad Thai succeeds, it can help the entire agricultural sector in Thailand by opening up new markets in the region and giving millions of Thai farmers access to new buyers for their produce throughout AEC. Easy access to new markets will quickly translate to better prices for their produce."
Thai Agro Exchange Co chief executive officer Graham Sanders told the publication that Tesco Lotus would be one of the "anchor" customers using the new refrigerated product consolidation center.
"If we invest quickly, we can install the essential infrastructure needed to support the growth of this trade and make Thailand a hub for the entire region."