The Thai government has a strong desire to increase livestock production in order to fulfil demand for domestic consumption as well as exports. In order to encourage farmers to raise cattle for beef, the Thai government has implemented several important programs including the Royal-initiated Cattle and Buffalo Bank project in 1978, the Beef Cattle Farm promotion in the North-eastern region in 1989 and the One-Million Beef Cattle Households promotion in 2004 (Charoensook et al., 2013). For example services provided by the Department of Livestock Development include providing to small-scale farmers through the ‘Cattle and Buffalo Bank under the King Initiative’ free artificial insemination (AI) services and other beef cattle extension programs.
According to the review by FAO (2005), the following strategies were introduced for the cattle industries by the Thai government in the period 1998 -2001. First, the government continued to sponsor research programs to breed the most suitable animals to produce Brahman parent stock and to distribute them to beef cattle improvement centres for sale to farmers. Second, common grazing areas were set up from available public land. Third, vaccines and disease treatments were made available to farmers to control foot and mouth disease and parasitic infestation. Fourth, farmers were divided into two production groups, with one concentrating on breeding and the other on fattening. To assist in this, the government gave long term credit to farmers. Finally, the government attempted to control the smuggling of cattle as a way of improving the beef price. The government’s program proved to be effective as the number of cattle increased in the period 2001-2007.
Thailand applies high tariffs to imports competing with locally produced products, including beef, pork and poultry. However, under the Thailand-Australia free trade agreement, tariffs for on imported beef products will reduce to zero by 2020 (DFAT, 2014).