After losing the number one global rice exporter position for three years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has met with related agencies and rice exporters to find measures to reclaim the top spot.
Speaking after a meeting with representatives from the Rice Department, the Department of Foreign Trade, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand and rice sellers, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Praphat Phothasoothon said the agencies and companies have agreed to solve some cumulative issues in rice exports, as Thailand currently does not produce new rice varieties which are currently in demand in the global market.
Severe drought is adding pressure to Thailand’s main economic crops — rice, rubber and sugar — and its agricultural sector, which employs around 11 million people.
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Stronger competition from Vietnam and Cambodia
The country’s rice exports have seen stronger competition from Vietnam and Cambodia, with Myanmar expected to be even more competitive in the future. This situation has lowered the usual 10 million annual tons of rice exports from Thailand to just 7.5 million last year.
Most Thai rice varieties are white, hard rice which are not in demand in foreign countries. Related departments will be working to improve the variety to meet customer demand.
Drought response and rice farm zoning plan
At this meeting, related departments have been assigned to formulate a drought response and rice farm zoning plan, to be completed in two weeks, and to be implemented in the next farming season starting around May.
The Rice Department has been assigned to speed up research into new rice varieties, in addition to the varieties recently introduced, in order to meet the fast changing consumer demands. These research projects will receive government funding.
For areas that are not suitable for rice farming, the Department of Livestock Development will be holding a 3-year occupational promotion campaign. This will help reduce the overall number of rice farms in the country, to prevent oversupply, which affects the price.
Soft rice grains are now in greater demand by global customers, such as the PSL 07023-CNT-18-2-1-3 variety, which is being planted in a pilot project by farmers in Phichit.
Thai Rice Export Expected to Drop to 7.5m tons this year
This year’s projection for rice exports remains close to the previous year at 7.5 million tons, the lowest in seven years since 2013 when Thailand exported 6.6 million tonnes of rice.
Thailand’s rice exports hampered by strong baht
Thai rice exports are likely to stay below targets as the strong baht weakens competitiveness in the world market (Photo: Bangkok Post)
Palm oil price guaranteed at four baht per kilogram
Commerce Minister Jurin said the price guarantee measure is one of the measures to deal with low palm oil prices. Other measures, such as using biodiesel B10 to produce electricity and tackling palm oil smuggling, have to be implemented
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