By Peter Alagos
Thailand is ready to provide its expertise in the fields of agriculture and aquaculture, including hydroponics, to support Qatar’s food security programme, ambassador Piroon Laismit has said.
“Because Thailand is an agricultural country, we have an abundance of fruits, livestock and aquaculture products like tilapia, and we are confident in supporting Qatar’s food security,” Laismit told Gulf Times in an interview.
Citing the challenges in growing food in the Gulf countries, the ambassador said Thailand could share its expertise in hydroponics: “We are ready to share this technology to Qatar if the government is interested.”
The bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Thailand amounted to around $4bn in 2014, he recalled.
“Because 85% of our imports (around $3.5bn) from this country are mostly liquefied natural gas (LNG), Qatar provides our ‘energy security’ and we would like to see Thailand reciprocate this in terms of food security since most of our exports are food commodities,” Laismit said.
The envoy was of the view that more needs to be done in terms of bilateral trade. “The value of energy Qatar sell to Thailand is higher than the food commodities that we send to Qatar. Thailand also exported furniture, jewellery, automobiles, and air conditioning units to Qatar, amounting to nearly $400mn in 2014.”
“Qatar supports our energy needs because we have a lot of industries that require a lot of energy in the production and manufacturing sectors,” the ambassador said.
Thailand received in January this year the first LNG cargo from Qatargas, which it delivered under the long-term sale and purchase agreement (SPA) between Qatargas 3 and PTT Public Company.
Laismit said the two companies signed the SPA in December 2012 for the delivery of 2mn tonnes per year of LNG for a period of 20 years beginning from 2015.
“Although Thailand has been buying LNG from Qatar for many years (around 1.7mn tpy), the LNG cargo delivered last January secures Qatar’s place as our energy security partner,” he said, while adding that “if Thailand needs more than 2mn tpy of LNG, Qatar can supply more.”
By Peter Alagos