Betagro Group, one of Thailand's leading integrated agribusiness enterprises, expects its new quality management system will lead to strong market expansion and drive sales to 55 billion baht next year.
Betagro Quality Management 24/7 (BQM 24/7) will not only ensure the group's entire supply and production chains from farming and processing to markets but also exceed international food safety standards, said Vasit Taepaisitphongse, chief operating officer.
"We developed a system that complies with new food safety regulations set by import countries and foreign big buyers and retailers, which normally outline tougher standards," he said.
Stringent standards from the British Retailers Consortium and Tesco Foods were fully complied with, enabling Betagro chicken products to be available at Tesco outlets in Britain this year.
Betagro implemented a trial version of BQM 24/7 for its poultry business starting in October 2008 and the programme had impressive export growth in the first half of this year. It led to sales of 4.5 billion baht, or 15% growth over the same period last year, he added.
He said the system would allow the group to expand to new export markets, particularly those with restricted food safety regulations. Revenue from exports contribute 20% of the group's total sales, which are estimated at 50 billion baht this year and 55 billion in 2010.
The system also allows Betagro to shift its focus to higher value or premium products, which he expects will account for 75% of shipments with the balance commodities. "Premium products mean higher unit prices of about US$4,500 per tonne compared with $4,000 a tonne, drawing us to concentrate more on the segment," he added.
Betagro expects to export 46,000 tonnes of chicken this year from Thailand's total of 380,000 tonnes. This comprises 365,000 tonnes of processed meat, and 15,000 tonnes of frozen chicken products, said Sanon Liawpairoj, commercial director for the poultry business of Betagro.
The group plans to export 55,000 tonnes of chicken next year because of market expansion from its three subsidiaries: Better Food Co, Ajinomoto Betagro Frozen Foods (Thailand) Co, and BFI Broiler Farm.
The group has had success in the EU the past decade.
"Our highlighted export product is the Yakitori line, which is Thailand's largest in this area in the EU with an annual export volume of 2,000 tonnes," said Mr Sanon. The company will showcase the BQM 24/7 at the Anuga food and beverage trade event in Cologne, Germany, which runs from this weekend through Oct 14.
The system has also been applied to its swine business. Betagro controls about 60% of the country's processed pork exports. Suthep Tirapipattanakul, executive vice-president of the group, said more effective management would reduce operating costs by about 100 million baht a year.
"In farming, the new quality management system helps reduce rejected chicks, increases the survival rate and ultimately lowers consumer complaints," Mr Suthep said.
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