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…