Thai food exports are expected to grow by 14% this year, boosted by higher shipments of shrimp and processed chicken, according to the Bangkok Post newspaper.

The figure came from deputy commerce minister Suriya Larpwisuthisin who put Thailand's food exports at about US$10.16bn this year.

Suriya said the strong growth in the food export industry would help Thailand achieve its target for total exports to grow 20% this year to $117bn. He added that trade officials had been directed to work toward increased shipments of Thai fruit, particularly in China.

Currently, Japan is Thailand's largest food export market, accounting for 19.11% of total shipments, with the United States next at 17.18%, Malaysia at 3.68%, the United Kingdom at 3.67%, Hong Kong at 3.31%, and other markets the rest.

For the first quarter of this year, Thailand's food exports were valued at $2.439 bn, up 8.64% year-on-year. Among the key food export products are rice, shrimp, canned tuna and canned pineapples.