Thailand's livestock exports are expected to rise by 5% to 10% this year, thanks to unlimited import quotas and zero import tariffs on feed meal under the expanded Asean Free Trade Area agreement.
The abolition of limits on imports of soybeans and maize, the main ingredients in animal feed, enables producers to manage costs and improve their competitiveness, said Pornsil Patcharintanakul, president of the Thai Feed Mill Association.
Exports of livestock products, including chicken, pork, beef and fishery products, will reach 150 billion baht this year, an increase of 5% to 10% on the previous year, he said.
Maize will average between 8 baht and 8.5 baht per kilogramme for the entire year.
No supply shortage is expected as manufacturers can freely import maize from neighbouring countries, said the association president.
Increased soybean supply from Brazil this year will bring down soybean prices, said vice-president Nopporn Vayuchote.
Soybean output from Brazil, one of the world's largest soybean producers, is forecast to rise to 120 million tonnes this year, up from 100 million tonnes last year. The increase is expected to bring down market prices to about 13 to 15 baht per kg, from an average of 16 to 18 baht in 2009.
The association estimates that the growing local livestock industry will consume about 5 million tonnes of maize and 3.1 million tonnes of soybean meal this year, up from 4.7 million tonnes of maize and 2.9 million tonnes soybean meal last year.
There is also strong demand for maize from the alternative fuel industry, but livestock producers may shift to either tapioca pellets or broken rice as alternative sources of carbohydrate.
The Thai Tapioca Trade Association forecasts demand for 29 million tonnes of cassava in 2010. The association expects 11 million tonnes to be made into chips and pellets for export and domestic use, largely in the livestock industry. About 15 million tonnes will supply flour and starch businesses, with about 2 million tonnes destined for the ethanol industry.
But Seri Denworalak, president of the Thai Tapioca Trade Association, was concerned that production could plunge to 22 million tonnes, down from a previous harvest of 30 million tonnes, due to mealybug infestation.
But he expects the government to unload tapioca from the state stockpile of more than 5 million tonnes to minimise the impact from lower supply.