Thai Products LLC

A Case Study of Frozen Chicken Industry in Thailand

Every year, Thailand earns almost USD 1,000 million in foreign exchange from exporting frozen chicken meat, ranking fourth in the world and first in Asia. As a result of the demand for safe, free of contaminants, high quality standards, and eco-friendly practices throughout the production process by the global importers of frozen chicken meat, Thailand’s frozen chicken meat industry has made substantial adjustments.
Thailand FRozen chicken
As a result, both the livestock development department and the processing companies oversee farm-level production closely. A HACCP system is applied to all products containing chicken meat. A third party inspection of the processing facilities is conducted by international importers once or twice a year. Despite the fact that large companies usually perform better than small ones, all the companies in the case study have clear environmental management divisions. The Department of Industrial Works’ standards for wastewater quality have been met after treatment.
 
A systematic approach is used to handle solid waste generated as a result of production processes. In terms of gaining information and solving problems, poultry husbandry associations have helped farmers and exporters. Importers on the global market, enforcing state laws, the companies’ own awareness, and parent company policies drive frozen chicken meat export companies to improve their production processes and adopt new technologies.

Introduction

In an era of rapid structural change and industrial growth, Thailand, typically an agricultural country, is becoming increasingly industrial. Although agricultural exports declined as a share of GDP, industrial products replaced agricultural exports as the top exports in the 1990s. Rubber, sugar, and broiler chicken were some of the products exported in the 1970s because of the favorable climate for agro-industry. Frozen shrimp exports to Japan and the USA increased rapidly in the 1980s due to shrimp farming.

Despite a slight setback during the 1997-1998 recession, Thailand’s food processing industry has grown rapidly over the last decade. As Thailand’s agricultural production and natural resources are abundant, this sector has excellent growth prospects going forward. The Thai government is one of the only countries in the Asia Pacific region that produces more food than it consumes (Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, 2000). The country exports more than 7,000 food processors and is one of the top producers of processed food products in the world. Almost all of these firms serve the domestic market, which is mainly comprised of small and medium-sized firms.

Companies geared towards export generally produce high-quality products that meet international standards because they are geared toward export. It is estimated that about 50% of Thailand’s food processing production leaves the country for export. International trade agreements such as GATT/TRIPS under the World Trade Organization, and various standards such as the Codex Alimentarius Standard, ISO 9001, ISO 14000, promote the use of quality products, proper waste management, and environmental safety. There is increasing concern about food safety among consumers, particularly in the EU and the USA. Food safety and labeling standards are being consolidated and harmonized within the EU common market, and Canada, Mexico and the USA are working to harmonize regulations within NAFTA.

Import regulations must be adhered to cost-effectively by the two largest groups of food importers or costly rejections will result (Humpal and Guenette, 2000). For access to the worldwide markets to be achieved, these standards must be considered an immediate requirement. Food exports are important for developing countries because they contribute to rural development and poverty reduction.
 
The global trade environment will put pressure on Thailand’s processed food exports. However, Thailand is also becoming increasingly aware of environmental problems locally, particularly among professionals and those with higher incomes. The rising per capita incomes in Thailand are accompanied by a demand for a better quality of life.
 
The political and economic agenda will continue to be dominated by environmental issues and public health concerns, with environmental issues and events receiving greater media attention. Legislation and enforcement concerning environmental protection are growing in popularity in Thailand. Domestic environmental sensitive markets are also under pressure from international environmental concerns. Thailand’s new, tougher environmental laws will be further strengthened by international trade agreements and alliances.
 
It is particularly notable that the ISO 14000 regime has increasingly led to standardization (BOIOT, 2000). Thai food safety standards are being strictly observed for agricultural exports in 2003 as other countries have imposed stringent hygienic standards on Thai food and might even impose trade protectionism against food items deemed unsafe for consumption (Thailand declares 2004 Year of Food Safety).
 
Departments of Medical Science, Thai Industrial Standards Institute, Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Livestock Development are responsible for food safety and quality in Thailand.
 
As Thailand’s authorized certifying agencies, they are responsible for implementing quality systems and food safety. After the WTO Agreements were enacted, however, major markets began to require the HACCP certifications of exporting countries. As part of the requirement, the HACCP program must be certified by a third party.
 
NFI has implemented the HACCP program to promote food safety production among the Thai food industry, and to make them more competitive in the world market. Together with Campdem and Chorleywood Food Research Associations (CCFRAs) of the UK, it has partnered with the Biotechnology Center at the National Science and Development Agency.
 
Thai Food Industry, 2003: Online) finds that CCFRA-certified NFI experts offer consultations relating to HACCP designs, documentation, and process monitoring, while CCFRA experts provide final audits and certification of factories.
 
As an example, this study looks at the frozen chicken industry. Similar pressure is applied to frozen chicken producers in Thailand to devise environmentally friendly production processes and products. There are, however, differences in how frozen chicken producers react to these pressures and to the extent to which they feel them. The following research questions are addressed in this paper:
 
What are the procedures and practices used by Thai farmers in broiler production on their farms? What improvements have the entrepreneurs made to their factory processes?
 
What is the impact of farm and factory production on the surrounding community?
 
What are the responses of the surrounding communities?
 
In what ways does the government sector contribute to broiler production and frozen chicken processing, especially the Department of Livestock and Development and Department of Industrial Works?
 
What support and assistance is provided to farmers and entrepreneurs by these associations?

Thailand Chicken production

Over half the nation’s chickens are produced in the central region, followed by the northeast, northern and southern regions. A difference of 49.7% in 1998 to 355.69% in 2002 indicates the growth in the output share of the central region. According to the data, the northeastern region held onto 24.58% of its share in 1998 and 24.67% of its share in 2002.
 
Thailand Frozen Chicken Manufacturer

From 15.35% of production in 1998 to 12.62 % in 2002, the north of the country has experienced a decline similar to the south, which has seen a drop from 10.35% to 7.10% in the corresponding years. A five-year average growth rate of 5.89% was recorded at the national level, where chicken production increased from 773.52 million birds in 1998 to 1,025.41 million birds in 2002.

Table 1Number of Thai broilers classified by region in 1998 - 2002

Frzen chicken table
Sources : Department of Livestock Development and Calculated
Note :Number in parenthesis is percentage
 
Chicken farmers are most concentrated in the central region, where more than half of all chicken farms are located. It is evident, however, that the proportion of farms in this region has been decreasing over time, especially in 2002, when the share of farms in the region dropped from 60.38% to 57.50%.
 
It has decreased from 18.00% in 1996 to 16% in 2002, a slight decrease from the level of 18.00% in 1996. A similar trend was observed in the south, where the share of chicken farms declined from 16.59% in 1996 to 11.57% in 2002. As of 2002, chicken farming represented 14.93% of the farm total in only the northern region. As of 2002, there were 18,649 chicken farms all across the country, an increase of 3,816 farms from 1996.
 
Between 1997 and 1999, however, the rate of growth can be quite impressive at 112.37% (Table 2), owing to a combination of low business during the 1997 economic crisis, the change in exchange rate, and the mad-cow disease incident, which lead to EU consumers switching from beef to chicken meat, thus stimulating chicken farming in Thailand to a greater extent.

Table 2 Number of chicken farms in Thailand, classified by region in 1996 -2002

Table 2
Source : Provincial Livestock Office
Collected By : Information and Statistics Group, Information Technology Center, Department of Livestock Development, Thailand
Note : 1. No survey in 1998 and 2001

Export of frozen chicken from Thailand

Most Thai frozen chicken exporters have their own slaughterhouses and processing facilities. In contrast, small-scale businesses serve primarily domestic consumers, while all exporters are large and medium-sized businesses. As of March 2003, the Department of Industrial Works recorded 71 chicken slaughterhouses and processing plants.
There are 67.60% small slaughterhouses, followed by 22.54% medium-sized slaughterhouses.
 

Among all chicken slaughterhouses, large firms account for only 9.86%. According to a regional breakdown, 71.83% of Thai chicken slaughterhouses and processing plants are located in the center, while 15.50% are located in the north. There are also 5.73% and 7.04% of small-scale businesses in the north and south, respectively.

Number of chicken processing factories registered to Department of Industrial Works classified by region in 2002

Frozen Chicken

Source : Department of Industrial Works
Note :Number in parenthesis is percentage

Quantity of Thai chicken meat in 1998 – 2002

Thai Frozen chicken Data

Sources : International Animal Quarantine Station, Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Service ; Calculate
Note :1. One bird = 1.8 kg 2. One ton of live broilers = 523 kg of chicken meat 3. Number in parenthesis is percentage

The Department of Industrial Works estimates that full-grown chickens produce 52% of the meat in weight if processed. There has been a 7.36% average annual growth in chicken meat production in Thailand since 1998. The industry produced 728.19 thousand tons of chicken meat in 1998 and 965.32 thousand tons in 2002.
 
Compared to 1998, when Thailand produced 264.25 thousands tons of chicken meat, its exports to 2002 amounted to 431.94 thousands tons. The national chicken meat industry exports 60.26 % of its output to the domestic market and the rest to foreign markets.
 
In comparison with 1998, the proportion of Thai chicken processed and exported has increased from 36.29% to 44.75% (Table 4) Both frozen and cooked chicken meat are exported. In 1998, the percentage of domestic consumption was 63.31%, and in 2002 it was 55.25% (Table 4).
 
In 2002, the first type of exports accounted for 70.37% of all exports, a drop from 77.43% in 1998, whereas the second type accounted for 29.63% of all exports in 2002, an increase from 22.57% in 1998. In 1998, 264.25 thousand tons of exports were shipped, but in 2002, 431.94 thousand tons were shipped, which represents an annual growth rate of 13.42%.
 
Chicken meat exports rose from 24,323.19 million baht in 1998 to 38,316.19 million baht or roughly U$ 934.54 million per year (1 U$ = 41 bath) in 2002, which represents an annual growth rate of 14.69% (Table 5). There is considerable foreign earnings potential associated with Thai chicken meat exports, which is increasing continually.
 
Consequently, Thailand’s frozen chicken industry should benefit from greater government support along with private sector contributions like ensuring food safety, setting food quality standards, and ensuring environmentally friendly production.

The export of chicken meat in 1998 - 2002

Thailand Frozen Chicken data

Source : International Animal Quarantine Station, Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Service, Department of Livestock Development (Thailand)
Note:Number in parenthesis is percentage

Thai frozen chicken has been exported mainly to Japan, where 55.69% of export share was captured in 2002 and 55.78% in 2002. In 2000, Germany had an export share of 13.20% and in 2002, it had an export share of 11.59%: next was the Netherlands, with a share of 7.71% and 5.78 percent.
 
A recent drop in exports to EU countries has resulted from chemical residues found in Thailand’s chicken meat, which has led to EU countries becoming more restrictive when importing frozen meat from Thailand.
 
However, Thai frozen chicken meat exports continued to grow in 2002, rising from 296,425 tons in 2001 to 303,966 tons. In 2002, export shares from other importing countries increased slightly from 19.4% to 20.32%. 2002 saw a 2.54 percent rate of export growth, continuing the trend of positive growth

Countries importing Thai frozen chicken in 2000 – 2002

Thai Chicken export data
Thai Chicken export data

Source :Information and Statistics Group, Information Technology Center, Department of Livestock Development (Thailand)
Note :Number in parenthesis is percentage

Chicken meat export in the world market

In 2002, the USA was the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat with 2.2 million tons

Quantity of chicken meat world export in 2001 - 2002

Quantity of chicken meat world export in 2001 - 2002

Source: 1. FAS post reports, official statistics, and inter-agency analysis (p) preliminary
               * Department of Livestock Development (Thailand)

volume and 44.49% market share, followed by Brazil with 1.4 million tons and 23.84% market share. Thailand was the fourth leading exporter in the same year with 431.9 thousand tons export
 
volume and 7.82% world market share. Among the Asian exporters of chicken meat, Thailand is the largest followed by China (Table 7)

Case Studies

The case study included seven frozen chicken meat exporting companies, four of which were large and three medium-sized. The companies were selected based on the following criteria:- 1) They were all located in Bangkok and its vicinity, two of which had been operating for over ten years, and the other two had been operating for 25-35 years. Each has its own slaughterhouse and processing plant, situated outside an industrial estate, but within a city neighborhood.
 
Despite receiving no support from BOI, the majority of them have invested more than 200 million baht each with their own funds. 2) It is also a well-known fact that all medium-sized companies with a lifespan of 20-26 years are located in Bangkok and its periphery.
 
Each of them is a slaughterhouse and processing plant, located outside the industrial estate zone, close to a town. In each of these cases, the companies used their own funds to invest between 50 and 200 million baht but did not receive assistance from BOI.

1. Production and marketing

Approximately 151,250 live chickens are used by the large-sized companies each day to produce 156 tons of frozen chicken meat from raw materials (live chicken). Domestic consumption makes up the majority of the fresh chicken meat. It takes an average of 13 hours a day to complete a job and 27 days per month to complete a job. The average number of permanent employees at these companies is 1,168, while the average number of casual hires or daily workers is 2,270 (Table 8).
 
Local provinces and other provinces within 100 kilometers supply the majority of their raw materials. The raw materials for two companies, however, are sourced in other provinces over 100 kilometers away. It is possible for the company to obtain raw materials from two sources: its own farm, which contributes between 55 and 100%; and contract farmers, who contribute about 20 to 45 percent. All raw materials are supplied by one company.
 
All raw materials will never be supplied by individual farmers or farmer’s representatives to ensure that meat meets standards and is free from chemical residues. These companies will market their products as frozen chicken meat for export, and fresh chicken meat for domestic consumption, making up 46.25 percent of their total output.
 
It is generally the case that large-sized companies, namely three, export their products exclusively under their own brand names. All products are exported by only one company through a trading agent. Approximately 75% of exports are sold locally by firms themselves, while 25% are sold to businesses through agents.
 
In terms of frozen chicken meat exports, Japan is the leading market for these companies with 57.5% market share, EU countries import on average 30%, and other countries account for 12.50% (Table 9-10). In Figure 1, you can see how these companies produce their products. In figure 2, you can see how the supply chain and quality checking of broiler meat work in a large Thai company of this size
Thai Figure 1
Thai Figure 1

Figure: 2 Market chain and checking of broiler meat in large size company of Thailand

Table 8 Capacity productions of a large size frozen chicken export company

Data
Approximately 46 tons of frozen meat are produced daily by medium-sized companies from 65,000 chickens, with the remainder going to the domestic market as fresh chicken meat. Eight hours of work are required each day and 26 days are worked each month. The company employs 72 permanent employees and 1,249 daily wage laborers on average.
 
Within a 100-kilometer radius of the local province, the raw materials are mainly sourced from neighboring provinces. A company’s own farms provide approximately 60-100 percent of raw materials, while contract farmers provide about 30-40 percent.company in this production scale uses 100% of raw materials from its own farm.
 
To avoid problems associated with meat quality standards and chemical residues, medium-sized firms do not rely on general farmers or farmer’s representatives for raw materials in producing frozen chicken meat.
 
Compared with large-size companies, these companies export only 36.67% of their total frozen chicken meat output. In comparison with large companies, their output is primarily fresh chicken meat, which represents 63.33% of their output.
 
The only medium-sized company that exports all of its products under its own name is one. Although exports are primarily handled by trading agents, the proportion is relatively low compared to large-sized companies (8.333%). Almost all marketing is handled by medium-sized companies in the domestic market.
 
In addition to Japan, the EU market accounts for about 30% of all frozen chicken meat imports, with the remaining 18.33% absorbed by other countries (Table12-13). In Figure 3, we see how broiler meat is distributed and checked in a large company in Thailand.
Data

2. Environmental management

In the frozen chicken meat industry, both large and medium-sized companies have established their own environmental policies, including energy conservation, quality management, food safety, workplace safety, water conservation, industrial waste reduction, and waste disposal. Some of these companies have been successful in managing the environment thanks to the strict adherence to these principles.
 
The broilers used in large-scale poultry companies for frozen chicken meat are subject to regular quality control throughout the production process. Farming is supervised by the companies with most of the inputs supplied by them: Farmers also receive various husbandry equipment from the companies; By closely observing and controlling their farmers, the companies can obtain high quality raw materials; Outsourcing raw materials will be done from contract farmers who will also be supervised to ensure that the correct farming standards are being met and preventive medication programs are being carried out without the use of harmful chemicals.
 
Additionally, the companies provide services such as animal healthcare consultation, informed consultation on chemical residues and raw material monitoring. Independent farmers are not allowed to supply these companies with raw materials because they are unsure of the quality. Also required by the importers are health examinations and stress prevention for animals before slaughtering. In order for the meat to be exported to countries that are Muslim, the slaughtering process must also adhere to Halal laws.
 
Similar practices apply to raw materials procurement and slaughtering processes in medium-sized companies. The commercial utilization of byproducts is a solid waste management method utilized both by large and medium-sized enterprises. Fish farmers sell the animals’ organs, such as their heads and stomachs, to feed their fish.
 
Therefore, these companies do not create conflicts with neighboring communities due to their good environmental management. The neighboring communities do not pressure the companies to improve their production processes for this reason. Access to information is fairly divided between large and medium-sized companies in terms of how much information they divulge. Among the medium-sized companies, only one organizes training on environmental issues every year, compared to the large-sized companies.
 
It is common for both large and medium-sized companies to establish environmental management units to monitor the quality of the environment regularly. Two of the large-sized companies use aeration systems and the others use activated sludge systems for wastewater treatment. The aeration system is used in one medium-size company while activated sludge is used in another. A large-sized company’s environmental management investment cost is about 10-20 million baht, compared with a medium-sized company’s.
 
In order to create a good image and to comply with the law, their parent companies invest in this purpose. Three large-sized companies and two medium-sized companies also include environmental records in their financial reports, indicating that they conduct regular measurements of BOD levels in the treated wastewater at every stage of production. It is done daily and once a week by two large companies; it is done only once a week by one company. It is common for large-sized companies to have wastewater that has BOD values ranging between 10-25 mg/l, suspended solids (SS) values ranging from 10-47 mg/l, and pH values varying from 7-8.5.
 
Generally, medium-sized companies have BOD values between 5 and 30 mg/l, SS values between 15 and 49 mg/l, and pH values between 6.5 and 8.5, all of which are higher than the minimum standards set by the Department of Industrial Works (BOD values between 4.1 and 49.4 mg/l, SS values between 8 and 50 mg/l, and pH values between 5 and 9).
 

In addition to the companies’ own environmental quality control measures, the Department of Industrial Works under the Ministry of Industry conducts environmental quality inspections at the plants 1-4 times per month. Additionally, major importing firms from Japan, the EU and other countries perform external inspections of these companies’ factories on a periodic basis to ensure that chicken meat products meet quality and safety standards. A veterinarian is also stationed at the slaughterhouses by Thailand’s Livestock Department Development.

Before issuance of an export certification, meat products are inspected for quality and standards. Thai frozen chicken meat can therefore be guaranteed to meet international quality and safety standards.
 

Many benefits can be obtained by large companies by managing the environment carefully in their slaughterhouses and processing plants.Providing products of international standards allows them to compete with other exporters in the global market; they can respond well to customer and consumer demands in global markets; and they can create good relationships with neighboring communities and the public at large. Moreover, their image is improved, their government relations improve, and their market share gets bigger while they save energy, raw materials, and expenses.

 
After implementing good environmental management, medium-sized companies believe their products will be of international standards, which will enable them to gain international competitiveness and create good relationships between the public and the private sectors. Good environmental management benefits medium-sized companies less than their counterparts, as they have a narrower perspective.
 
As long as the production processes have been approved for both GMP and HACCP systems, both large and medium-sized companies can guarantee quality, safety, and the absence of contaminants in frozen chicken meat. A large-sized company has obtained ISO 9000 certification, and another has obtained ISO 14000 certification. ISO certification has not yet been achieved by medium-sized companies.

3. Factors affecting the need for environmental quality management in the frozen chicken meat industry

Among the seven companies under study, opinions on what factors have driven the process of improving frozen chicken meat production into an environmentally-friendly and more efficient one differed.
 
a) Among large- and medium-sized companies, one large company and two medium-sized companies identified pressure from importers as the most important factor; one large company and one medium-sized company cited the parent company’s requirement, the company’s environmental awareness, and state law enforcement.
 
b) two large corporations and one medium corporation cited enforcement of state laws, one company in each category of companies mentioned environmental awareness, one large corporation considered parent company requirements, and one medium corporation considered pressure from importers.
 
c) In relation to the third most important factor, one company from each category mentioned the pressure exerted by the Frozen Chicken Meat Exporters’ Association; a large company mentioned enforcing state laws, practicing environmental awareness, and following parent company requirements.

4. The roles of the government sector in the frozen chicken meat industry

Policy measures and laws to solve environmental problems were mainly in control and command approach before the 1997 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand was promulgated. Decentralization of environmental decision-making and legal frameworks is provided by the new Constitution.
 
Various stakeholders, including civic communities, local administrations, businesses and laypeople, are partners in protecting and conserving the environment and in addressing environmental problems related to sustainable development, as provided by the constitution (Boramanant and Kraisorapong, 2001).
 
Environmental issues relevant to frozen chicken meat are handled by a number of governmental agencies. As for food safety and standards, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative’s Department of Livestock Development is responsible for ensuring the proper management of raw materials and products from their production to their processing.
 
The main responsibilities and duties of this Department are as follows:
 
(1) Ensure compliance with laws governing animal epidemics, disease control, and genetic improvement;
(2) procurement and production of biological materials and medical supplies for preventing elimination of animal diseases;
(3) implement programs for the improvement and multiplication of breeds, the care and medication of animals, and the processing of meat products;
(4) Encourage the production of economically significant livestock;
(5) Monitoring and controlling meat quality, meat products, and other animal products to ensure compliance with international standards (Duty and Responsibility of the Department of Livestock Development, 2003: Online).
 
In addition to providing advice for solving farming problems, the Department also has offices at both the district and provincial levels that can provide assistance and supervision to poultry farmers regarding medicines and prohibited substances, epidemic control, establishing a standard farm system, and slaughtering.
 
A slaughterhouse and processing plant’s standards are also controlled by the agency. A veterinarian will be assigned to the factories of all large and medium-sized companies which export chicken meat and products so that they can control and inspect that the meat is safe to eat, does not contain residue, and meets food safety standards.
 
Exporting products and meat are then certified as safe by veterinarians. It is the responsibility of the Department of Industrial Factory under the Ministry of Industry to manage factory environmental pollution.
 
Environmental management is of utmost importance to the livestock slaughtering and processing plants, who have been taught the right ways to manage their environmental footprints by this program. The organization regularly organizes activities aimed at reducing industrial pollution and environmental problems associated with livestock slaughtering and processing.
 
Promoting efficient environmental management systems is one of its main activities. A prudent and practical use of resources and pollution control measures is also emphasized, as well as the use of cleaner technologies and cleaner technologies. Water quality is also routinely tested by the Department.

5. The roles of NGO’s in frozen chicken meat industry

Thai NGO’s number over 300 (registered and unregistered) at present. Over the last three decades, NGOs have played an important role in social development in this country. Their actions have led to suspicions that they are provocateurs, creating dissension and conflict in society, receiving money from abroad, instigating mobs, and doing demonstrations to obstruct development and protest government projects.
 
As NGOs are seen from outside and judged by their activities, the general perception of them can be quite negative. According to Who are NGO’s, 2003: Online, the NGO is a group of volunteers who work to create a better society by cross-checking government programs and policies and providing access to information on the basis of people’s participation in development. In Thailand, there are many environmental non-governmental organizations.
 
Among these is The Thai Environment Institute, which has established the Energy Industry and Environment Program (EIP) to investigate appropriate methods for addressing environmental problems (EIP, 2003: Online). Through this program, all members of the public will be able to access information and participate in environmental problem solving.
 
Environmental non-governmental organizations have not yet started a campaign to oppose frozen chicken meat exports. Since it aims to export markets in particular, the large and medium-sized companies that have slaughtering and processing plants maintained strict environmental management in accordance with Thai laws, as well as the laws of importing countries.
 
The company also responds to additional requirements from importers. This frozen chicken meat company does not cause pollution to neighboring communities due to its well-founded industrial environmental management system. Consequently, there is no reason for NGO’s to take the initiative to pressure for more environmentally friendly production in this case. A majority of Thai non-governmental organizations focus only on hot and serious issues.

6. The roles of businesses and farm associations in the frozen chicken meat industry

Under His Majesty the King’s patronage, the Broiler Breeder Association and the Poultry Promotion Association of Thailand are involved with poultry farmers.
 
They provide farmers with information about both domestic and international markets and production conditions. Additionally, the association assists its members by coordinating with the government and private sectors, as well as planning boiler production in order to meet market needs (Director of Broiler Association of Thailand, interview: 2003).
 
Both of these organizations publish newsletters and journals that disseminate knowledge and information. A large number of Thai chicken meat producers and exporters formed the Broiler Processing Exporters Association in 1991 to regulate and serve them. This association was established with the goal of promoting the poultry industry, specifically the export market for poultry.
 
Basically, everything we do is to support the Thai government in solving all industry problems and constraints, as well as providing information that is needed for production and marketing (Association profiles, 2003: Online). It provides information to its members and to the general public through its own.

7. The requirements of the frozen chicken industry

In interviews with frozen chicken entrepreneurs, including large- and medium-sized businesses, we found that both associations and government agencies are still needed to assist and support this industry. With regard to this industry, their roles may be summarized as follows:
(1)  These entrepreneurs can be supported in a variety of ways by the related associations. Government agencies should be better involved and coordinated with them to resolve export problems. Contribution to the development of international standards of production regulations and laws.
 
The government should work together with import countries to adjust their standards according to the high standards they set. They should also provide seminars on the topic of new laws and regulations of import countries that involve new technology to members of the association.
 
(2) In order to support the livestock and industrial sectors directly, government organizations can increase their budgets and recruit staff in relevant departments such as the Department of Livestock Development and the Department of Industrial Works. To meet domestic and international chicken demand, the government should seek new international markets, establish an agency to control chicken supply, lower import feed taxes and other components taxes; establish an agency to propose and inspect regulations and laws related to importing countries.
 
It is important to distribute these information to farmers and relevant industry personnel as well. It is also important for farmers, government workers, producers, and other people involved in this industry to receive the necessary training so that they can make necessary adjustments to cope with the changes. Data collection and analysis should be streamlined at the frozen chicken industry information center

8. Conclusion

Thai poultry products are the fourth biggest export on the world market. Japan is the largest importer, followed by the EU market. Within the Asian region, it is the largest exporter, followed by the People’s Republic of China. Exporters of frozen chicken meat must provide safe, contaminant-free, quality products that are processed in an environmentally-friendly manner to global importers, who demand that products be safe for consumption.
 
Due to such demand from related sectors, Thailand, the world’s fourth largest exporter, has made many adjustments. It is imperative that the industry, businesses, government, associations, and institutes continue to devote serious attention to the issues outlined below. Large and medium-sized companies closely monitor and control farm production.
 
As well, the Department of Livestock Development supervises and assists the farms in terms of product safety from medicines and chemicals used in animal husbandry, standard farming management to guarantee safety and quality standards, and GMP certification requirements for raw materials used in slaughtering and processing. At every stage, each company’s production processes are inspected and certified for compliance with the HACCP system, which implements tight controls and monitoring.
 
In order to issue certificates of quality and safety for frozen chicken meat and chicken meat products for export, the Department of Livestock Development assigns a veterinarian to each company. Also, importers want to ensure that the facts are accurate. Three to four times a year, they send representatives to inspect slaughterhouses and processing plants. Seven companies have clearly defined responsibility and supervision for environmental management.
 
The majority of large–sized companies are certified with ISO 9000, while one has ISO 14000 certification as well. The ISO certification has yet to be reserved by a medium-sized company. Nevertheless, every company studied has installed wastewater treatment systems that meet the factory department’s standards. Fish farms and animal feed manufacturers purchase the processing by-products from all of the companies to handle their solid wastes.
 
A major function of the Department of Industrial Works is to provide advice, assistance, and inspections relating to various environmental aspects, as well as to promote the use of cleaner technologies. A large-sized company imported an eviscerator from the Netherlands, and all the companies acquire modern technology. The performance of large-sized companies is usually better than those of medium-sized companies when it comes to environmental management.
 
These companies are motivated by pressure from importers, state laws, the company’s own conscience, and the parent company’s policies/requirements to become more environmentally aware and improve their production processes. In conclusion, Thailand’s frozen chicken meat industry has developed and improved production processes in response to the demands of importers in the global market, and can produce products that are safe and meet the standards of the countries that import them.
 
There have been many contributions and collaborations within industry that have led to this improvement. As well as poultry farmers’ slaughterhouses and processing plants, the Foreign Chicken Meat Exporters’ Association and the Poultry Farmers Association of Thailand have contributed information to the cause. A number of other departments and agencies have played a role, such as the Department of Livestock Development, which provided technical support and advice to the livestock industry, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance with environmental requirements.