Continuous improvement in quality assurance and food safety are key to acheiving international customer loyalty, according to an executive of supermarket Tesco cited by the Nation newspaper.

International trading law and technical director Terry Babbs, in Bangkok to address a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development workshop on good agricultural practices and food safety, said producers must recognise that.

“Very stringent standards mean that international market opportunities are not available to all producers,” he said, adding that Tesco was happy to help its suppliers understand the benefits of good agricultural practices at a local level as a first step towards developing their international potential.

Good agricultural practices are good for farmers, good for retailers, good for their customers and, ultimately, good for the environment.

Babbs said that some Thai companies, such as the CP Group and River Kwai Industries, have demonstrated their ability to meet the highest international standards in food safety and farm assurance, and are long-term suppliers to the UK market.

These are good examples for other companies to follow when seeking to build international market opportunities, Babbs said.