The value of Thai food exports is projected to grow by 8% this year to reach US$26 billion thanks to more value-added food items and higher global demand. Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said Thailand shipped about $24 billion worth of food last year, or about 840 billion baht, which made it the biggest food exporter in ASEAN and 12th in the world. Strong exports of rice, processed chicken meat, canned seafood products, semi-cooked and frozen shrimp and seasoning items contributed to the growth in 2016. The department expects the export of these products will continue to expand this year. Ms Malee said the government has an ambitious plan to develop Thailand as the world’s centre for food research and development as well as food innovations to shift towards selling more innovation and higher-value food abroad.