The world's third-largest grocer Tesco has underlined its commitment to Thailand's fresh produce export trade by targeting Thai exports worth Bt15bn in 2013 through its Tesco Lotus division and promising to promote Thai products to customers at more than 6,500 Tesco stores in Europe, Asia and the US.

Group chairman Sir Richard Broadbent made the announcement during the recent visit by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the company's Kennington superstore in the UK.

Commenting on the plans, Broadbent said Tesco would use its international scale to benefit the Thai economy and local Thai suppliers.

'The Prime Minister has asked Tesco Group for further support in promoting and purchasing more Thai products,' he said. 'In response to this, we are pleased to announce a new target to purchase Bt15bn worth of Thai products in 2013 for sale in our stores in the UK, central Europe, the US and Asia.'

Tesco has seen steady growth for its Thai sourcing programme over the past few years, helped by the establishment of its procurement hub in the country as part of its global Group Food Sourcing network.

This year, the group is on course to reach its overall export target of Bt13.5bn, a significant increase on the Bt8bn achieved three years ago.

Tesco Lotus currently exports Thai fruit and vegetables to Tesco stores around the world, as well as other key products like rice, chicken and tinned food as well as electrical appliances.

Over the past five years, Thai fruit exports have reportedly doubled partly as a result of Tesco's Taste of Thailand promotion, a promotional campaign backed by the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

John Christie, chief executive of Tesco Lotus, said: 'Our support to the Thai economy and Thai businesses will not stop here. We look forward to continuing to work with the Royal Thai government to bring more Thai products into Tesco stores around the world.'