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Labor shortage in Thailand reportedly hampers seafood industry.

Thai frozen and processed seafood maker Pacific Fish Processing Co (PFP) is asking the new government to focus on solving the food industry's labor shortage.

At least a million more workers across the country are needed to keep the food processing sector growing, said PFP President Thawee Piyapatana. Because of the shortage, several food companies have not been able to develop their businesses or even their production capacity, he added.

PFP has only 200 workers and extends work hours and pays overtime to address the shortage, Thawee said, calling for the government to take the problem seriously and make strong efforts to tackle it, including the adjustment of the wage structure to reflect current economic conditions.

"It should speed up registration of alien workers so that seafood plants and other food factories can hire them legally," proposed the president. He noted that a special fiscal budget should be set aside to subsidize electricity for a vast amount of users, instead of only providing free power to households using less than 90 units.

In addition, Thawee suggested, the government ought to help Thais expand their knowledge and skills to make the country more appealing before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community starts up in 2015. This could be achieved through an overhaul of the education system and the promotion of human resource growth.

Thailand's food exports are anticipated to produce $23.8 billion in revenues during 2011--eight per cent more than in 2010. PFP is aiming for sales worth 4.1 billion baht ($134.6 million) this year, an increase of 15% year-on-year, of which 2.2 billion baht ($72.2 million) will come from exports. PFP's foreign operations remain profitable even though its sales of surimi in Japan dropped by 20% after March's earthquake and tsunami. The fall will be counterbalanced with expected huge growth in China and Malaysia.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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