As the world mourns the many thousands killed by the tsunami in south east Asia, attention is turning to the effect the catastrophe will have on livelihoods in the region.
While the fish supply chain has only started to grasp the long-term impact (see page 54), growers in Thailand - who produce a range of fruit and vegetables for export - seem to have escaped the worst.
Trade sources indicated to The Grocer that the Thai fresh produce sector has been largely unaffected by the disaster.
Air-freighted mini vegetables make a valuable contribution to the economy of the country, which serves a wide range of markets in the Far East, Europe and the United States. Thailand is also an important source of mini sweetcorn for the UK, with annual exports to these shores of over 1,200 tonnes.
Other established crops include trimmed mini asparagus and several tropical fruits, such as lychees and longans.
Gerry Mundy, global perishables manager for British Airways World Cargo, one of the major carriers of fresh produce from the region, confirmed that there had been "no significant change" in the volumes of produce being shipped.
He said that as part of the humanitarian effort BA World Cargo was offering free cargo space to aid workers so that supplies could be flown out as fast as possible to UNICEF's warehouses in stricken areas.

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