Gulf eyes Far East for food security
Dubai, June 9, 2009
Gulf states have expressed interest in livestock and rice farming in Thailand to secure food supplies, a Thai official said on Monday.
Food security has topped the policy agenda in the Gulf region following rampant inflation last year that underscored its dependence on imports and prompted countries to buy land in developing nations.
"Gulf countries have shown interest in investing in farms for livestock and rice production in Thailand," Pilun Fupapol, consul of Thailand's commercial section in the UAE, said.
He added that these deals are most likely to be on a government-to-government level as Thailand does not allow foreigners to own land.
"Either it will be a government-to-government deal, which will involve the investing party to lease the land on a long-term basis, or (in the case of a private investor) find a local partner," Fupapol said.
"I still don't have any details on these deals and the countries involved could be Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar or the UAE," he said.
Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, exported 10 million tonnes in 2008 and will sell an estimated 8 million to 8.5 million tonnes this year, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association. – TradeArabia News Service