|dc.description.abstract||Thailand is a key producer and exporter in global value chains of processed food that needs to comply with multiple global product standards and requirements. The Thai processed food industry needs to continuously upgrade its production processes to meet those standards and requirements. However, it is not simple to decide which upgrading processes are suitable for the industry, it depends on many factors, such as product characteristics and governance forms in each value chain. Understanding how Thailand’s processed food value chain operates and how to upgrade it is, therefore, essential both to maintain the country’s position in the value chains and the industry’s export competitiveness.
This study explores the governance structure in the Thai processed food sector. The study uses the gravity model estimated by several econometric methods to examine the impacts of economic (product, process, and functional) and social upgrading on Thai processed food exports from 1998 to 2016. The study identifies important determinants influencing the economic and social upgrading of the sector using the ordinary least square estimation.
The findings show that captive and hierarchical forms of governance explain Thailand’s processed shrimp and chicken value chains since their production processes are strictly controlled by food safety standards. Economic transactions in the Thai canned tuna industry illustrate captive, hierarchical forms of governance. The Thai canned pineapple value chain, in contrast, depends on market governance. Canned pineapple is produced in simple forms and does not have to meet as much food safety standards as processed shrimp and chicken. Hence, most economic transactions in the canned pineapple industry depend on product prices.
The results suggest that all upgrading types are statistically significant in Thai processed food exports to developed countries. Conversely, most upgrading types are insignificant for exports to developing countries. Interestingly, process upgrading has a negative effect on exports currently because of increased production costs to comply with product standards. However, process upgrading can lead to an increase in producers’/exporters’ knowledge about how to comply with international standards. Accordingly, process upgrading exhibits a lagged positive impact on processed food exports.
The results also suggest that economic and social upgrading are significant in the export of processed foods that are in a sophisticated form, such as processed shrimp and processed chicken, especially on food safety issues and stringent quality. However, economic and social upgrading are likely to be insignificant in exports of products that rely less on food safety standards and are in simple forms with clear international standards (canned pineapple).
When focused on the crucial determinants influencing economic and social upgrading of the Thai processed food industry, the findings are mixed. For example, human development, political stability, and industry institutionalisation are positively significant for product upgrading. In contrast, human development, port infrastructure development, political stability, and industry institutionalisation are positively significant for process upgrading. All this suggests that each upgrading type requires different supporting policies, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy.||en