The country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has met with Rice Department, the Department of Foreign Trade, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand (TREA) and rice sellers on this issue.
Speaking after the meeting, 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.
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 tonnes of rice exports from Thailand to only 7.5 million last year.
At this meeting, related departments have been assigned to formulate a drought response and rice farm zoning plan which will be completed in two weeks and 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 those recently introduced, in order to meet the fast changing consumer demands. These research projects will receive government funding.
In 2019, Thailand exported 7.58 million tonnes of rice, earning THB 131 billion (US$4.2 billion), down 32 percent in volume and 25 percent in value year-on-year. TREA sets a target of pocketing $4.2 billion from shipping 7.5 million tonnes of rice abroad this year.