Transformation of the Thai Broiler Industry

TRANSFORMATION OF THE THAI BROILER INDUSTRY

by Adam Kennedy

The Thai broiler industry has been at the forefront of food manufacturing activities and exports in Thailand, often referred as the ‘star’ of the livestock sector contributing a significant portion to agricultural GDP. Broiler chicken was the first agricultural product in Thailand that made the successful transition from a traditional ‘rural backyard’ production system to one that is a vertically integrated industry today. The development of the industry happened at a remarkable speed and scale, yet was able to weather through waves of uncertainties, shocks, and changes.

This study documents the four decade-long transition of the Thai poultry sector and the reasons behind the industry’s success. Insights are gathered from previous studies, supported by data gathering and interviews with industry experts. A focus is particularly placed on Charoen Pokphand Group (C.P. Group), an industry leader, and its business decisions over the years that enabled the company to gain a foothold in the highly competitive international market for poultry products. The goal of this study is to draw important lessons from the Thai broiler industry’s transformation that may be transferable to support the development of other agri-food value chains.

The paper addresses the following areas:

  • The trends in Thai broiler production in terms of volume, export markets, and the technologies employed to sustain growth.
  • The enabling conditions and government policies that allowed the industry to grow rapidly at the early stages of development.
  • The industry’s adaptation strategies in order to sustain growth and profitability in the face of external shocks.