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Bangkok Post: Talaad Thai gets B2.35bn revamp

Bangkok Post: Talaad Thai gets B2.35bn revamp

Produce market sees itself as Asean hub

Former politician Pradit Phataraprasit plans to spend 2.35 billion baht over the next two years to upgrade Talaad Thai, the biggest wholesale market in the country.

The fund will also be used to improve infrastructure at the popular fresh fruit and vegetable market 43 kilometres from Bangkok.

Mr Pradit, Talaad Thai's owner and chairman of the board of operator Thai Agro Exchange Co, said the investment aims to make the market the hub of fresh fruit and vegetables in time for the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in late 2015.

Some 1 billion baht will be spent on a new refrigerated product consolidation centre to handle 3,000 tonnes of produce a day, up from 1,000 tonnes now. The fund will also be used to streamline processing, packing and cold storage.

The company will also upgrade the market to support both wholesale and retail customers.

Talaad Thai has also set aside 600 million baht to procure 50 rai of land near the market for building a container yard to handle 60,000 containers a year, up from 13,141 today.

About 750 million baht is allocated for infrastructure improvement.

Mr Pradit said Talaad Thai is also conducting a feasibility study to convert 55,000 tonnes of organic waste a year into electricity as part of its commitment to improve its green credentials.

The investment is the biggest by Talaad Thai since it was established 18 years ago.

It has appointed Graham Sanders as chief executive to use his 25 years of experience in logistics in Asia to improve the performance of the 450-rai market.

Located in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district, Talaad Thai and its sister market Simummuang handle half of Thailand's wholesale trade in fruits and vegetables.

The trading value of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish in Talaad Thai each year is estimated at 180 billion baht. The figure is expected to rise to 500 billion after regional integration.

Talaad Thai earned 900 million baht in rental fees last year, and the figure will reach 1 billion this year.

Mr Pradit said the expansion will support the growth of producers.

"The place can be a venue for farmers to access new buyers quickly when the market widens due to the AEC. Producers can bargain for better prices," he said.