The demand for Thai food products in Qatar is expected to increase as the Covid-19 situation further improves and as the country continuously prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Thailand ambassador Nathapol Khantahiran has said.
Speaking to reporters recently, the envoy said there are around 10 Thai restaurants in Doha now and this number, as well as the volume of Thai food products, will grow in the coming months.
He noted that the volume of exports from Thailand to Qatar fell in 2020 from nearly $400mn to $300mn compared to 2019 due to the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, plans to expand trade co-operation with Qatar “both in terms of volume and value” aimed at increasing more imports from Thailand are in the pipeline.
“We prioritise safety (during the pandemic) and second, we try to introduce more healthy Thai products and food, which we plan to bring more, in
co-operation with LuLu,” Khantahiran said.
He added that 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Thailand but the celebration had to be cancelled due to the global health crisis.
LuLu Group International director Dr Mohamed Althaf cited the huge demand for Thai food products not only in Qatar and the region but also globally.
He noted that there are close to 1,500 high-quality Thai food products, from rice, seasoning, coconut, and drinks, including vegetables and fruits, among others, in Qatar.
“Thailand is one of biggest food exporters of Asia, they keep on innovating not only on food, but also on packaging and processing, they also have a lot of nutrition planning, even cater for special needs, and for cooked food also they are very good.
“We have very strong relations with Thailand. In terms of volume, it is significant and not only for LuLu, if you look at even Qatar as a whole, the food export especially for rice, sugar, a lot of other food products they have a very predominant position.
“With some level of modesty, LuLu takes the claim of making Thai food, fruits, and vegetables popular in Qatar. So we started 18 years ago, this is the result of our collaboration with the Thai Trade Commission, they are promoting these Thai products here now,” Althaf pointed out.
He added that Thai food – an international cuisine - has become very popular to different nationalities living in Qatar.
“Asians are always very used to it. I will rate Thai food in the top four cuisines in Qatar and this is also international. If you look at Mediterranean, Indian, Italian, and Thai, these are all like the very big ones, and there are so many nationalities that will share the same culinary habits such as Filipinos and Sri Lankans (among others),” Althaf said.
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