Thai, UAE talks to set up livestock farms

Thailand’s climatic and geographic conditions suit livestock production. (GETTY IMAGES)

The UAE Government is holding talks with Thailand about plans to
develop huge livestock farms and produce halal products in the
Southeast Asian country.

A senior Thai official in Dubai, who did not wish to be named, told Emirates Business that his government had spoken to a number of GCC governments about the proposals.

part of its food security strategy, the UAE Government is keen to
promote commercial offshore agriculture and livestock production,”
added the official, who is involved in bilateral business and trade
relations with the UAE.

“Thailand is one of the few countries in
the world that could achieve 100 per cent self-reliance in food. Our
climatic and geographic conditions suit livestock production.

the GCC countries the priority will be to develop livestock farms in
the southern part of Thailand and the proposed major farms would
produce goats, sheep and other animals.”

The UAE already has
ambitious plans to establish agricultural production centres in Sudan
and Pakistan. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development intends to develop
70,000 acres of land for food production in Sudan.

Saudi Arabia
has also announced plans for overseas farm, livestock and fisheries
projects in a number of countries, and the Kingdom’s ministry of
agriculture recently gave a group of Saudi investors advice on the

The proposals are part of a broader Islamic Chamber of
Commerce and Industry plan to develop a strong halal food production
chain covering many countries. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have
announced moves to invest in developing agricultural farms in Asian and
African countries as part of a food security plan.

Thailand is
a major producer of poultry and beef, with the latter accounting for
more than 50 per cent of the meat produced there. The country is also a
major dairy producer.

The official said GCC investment in
livestock production would focus on the southern provinces of Phuket,
Phangnga, Krabi, Ranong, Trang and Satun, which are all agricultural
and fishing areas with a considerable amount of arable land suitable
for commercial livestock production. He said the GCC countries had
expressed an interest in establishing rice farms but this would not be
possible because of a shortage of suitable land.

“Our limited
farmland is already used for white rice cultivation and we could not
provide rice farms for GCC investors,” he added. “They are looking at
rice farms in other Asian countries.”

Meanwhile, Charoen Pokpand
Foods, Thailand’s largest agri-business firm with operations in 14
countries, is planning a major investment to develop livestock farms in
the Moscow region of Russia, according to official Thailand Government
sources. A fodder plant has already been established and the entire
project is due to be completed by 2012.

And Thailand is also
planning to invest in other Asian countries including Bang?ladesh and
Pakistan with a view to producing dairy products and halal meat for the
global market, targeting two billion Muslim consumers.