Country Profiles

International trade

Although, the growth rates of cattle head have been recognised, beef production in Thailand has not been sufficient for domestic consumption. Figure 7 shows that official beef imports to Thailand have increased sharply since 2008. One reason for beef imports increasing was the signing of a free trade between Thailand, Australia and New Zealand in 2005

Figure 7: Beef and buffalo meat import to Thailand

figure7-thailandSource: DLD (2014)

The largest beef and buffalo meat supplier to Thailand in the last 8 years was Australia, following by New Zealand, and USA (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Cattle and buffalo meat import to Thailand by countries

figure8-thailandSource: UNComtrade (2014)

Offal imports to Thailand have increased significantly since 2010 (Figure 9). The import value increased from 60 million USD in 2006 to 264 million USD in 2013.

Figure 9: Offal imports to Thailand

figure9-thailandSource: UNComtrade (2014)

There are two types of cross-border live cattle movement in Thailand: transit movement of cattle between Myanmar and Cambodia/Laos to Vietnam, and export of local cattle from Thailand to Cambodia/Laos. To import cattle into Thailand, cattle imports must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate signed by the official authority in the country of origin certifying that (1) the country of origin has been free from endemic diseases for the specified period; (2) the animal has been processed in an approved establishment in sanitary conditions under constant veterinary supervision. Traders who involve in cross-border movement of cattle must obtain a movement permit from DLD.

Live cattle and buffalo from Myanmar imported into Thailand require 21 days quarantine (Ross, 2015). On the 21st day in quarantine every animal is individually inspected for physical signs of FMD, and blood testing also conducted to screen FMD. Cattle movements have increased dramatically since 2006. Figure 10 suggests that number of cattle in transit has grown significantly from 92,000 head in 2006 to 204,665 head in 2013. A reason for this may reflect an improvement in the procedures for monitoring of the transport of the animals.

Figure 10: Cattle trade in Thailand

Source: UNComtrade (2014)

However, smuggling cattle from Myanmar is a concern for the Thai government. The cattle from Myanmar are said to harbour diseases such as FMD, which make it difficult for Thailand to successfully implement disease control programs. See Myanmar cattle profile for further information.

Since 2008, cattle from Myanmar have transited through Thailand, and via Cambodia to Vietnam and China. The main entry sites for cattle moving from Thailand to Cambodia are Bantey Meanchey, Oddar Meanchy and Battambang provinces. In each of these provinces, there are several entry points along the border. The majority of cattle imported for transit to Vietnam use the Or Bey Choun and Nang Chan routes. In 2009, up to 150,000 cattle transited via Cambodia to Vietnam, however, in 2013 the number of cattle transited through reduced to only 13,000 head (see Cambodian cattle profile). The reason for the decline in the number of cattle imported from Thailand to Vietnam is that about 40% of imported cattle and buffalo are transported directly to the “Golden Triangle” Mekong River ports in the north of Thailand where they are shipped to south western China via the Mekong discharge ports upstream in northern Myanmar (Ross, 2015). In addition, there has been a significant increase in the number of cattle imported into Vietnam from Australia.

Figure 11: Cattle flows into and out of Thailand

Source: adapted from Cocks et al. (2009)

The export of cattle from Thailand to Laos is primarily to meet demand in Vietnam and China. From the North-eastern Thai river port city of Chiang Rai (Figure 11), about 10,000 live cattle per month in 2014 were shipped on barges up-river to the provincial city of Xishuangbanna in China.

Cattle also cross the Mekong river at Nong Khai to Vientiane in Laos where they are trucked onwards by road to Vietnam. It is suggested by officials that this road trade accounts for about 12,000 head per month in 2014.

The supplies for southern Thailand cattle are supplemented by imports from Myanmar via the river crossing on the Thai-Myanmar border near the North-western town of Mae Sot (Figure 11). About 120,000 cattle and buffalo walked across the river crossing into Thailand during 2014 (Ross, 2015) (further information, see Laos cattle profile).

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