Thailand’s rice exports boom – earnings rising 36% to 95.232 billion baht as exports from January to September surge 40%
BANGKOK, Nov 6 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Iraq has become the world’s largest export market for Thai rice, after shipments in the first nine months soared 511 per cent to 15.405 billion baht, the Commerce Ministry said.
Global exports of Thai rice from January to September surged 40% from last year to 5.41 million tonnes, with earnings rising 36% to 95.232 billion baht, the ministry said.
Thailand is now the world’s second-largest rice exporter after India.
The top five export markets for Thai rice in the first nine months were:
- Iraq with exports worth 15.405 billion baht (up 511%)
- United States, 14.029 billion baht (up 29%)
- South Africa, 8.017 billion baht (down 3%)
China, 7.439 billion baht (up 30%)
- Hong Kong, 3.56 billion baht (up 1.6%).
The Rice Exporters Association of Thailand forecasts the country will export between 7 million and 8 million tonnes of rice this year as the weakening baht boosts competitiveness over India and Vietnam.
Iraq has returned to buying Thai rice in large quantities for the first time in seven years, with over one million tonnes purchased so far this year, the association said.
Meanwhile Phuket will host the 14th World Rice Conference from November 15 to 17, with Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit scheduled to give the opening speech.
Thailand’s foreign trade agencies will be at the conference to showcase the country’s potential as a rice exporter. - The Nation Thailand/ANN
The Thai government has announced that Thailand and Vietnam have reached an agreement to increase the price of domestically produced rice in the global market in the context of rising costs in rice production.
Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chalermchai Sri-on said that while rice farmers are affected by rising production costs due to recent complicated developments, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the price of rice on the global market has increased disproportionately.
In such context, the world’s second and third largest rice exporters, Vietnam and Thailand, will join hands to negotiate a reasonable rise in rice prices through pricing mechanisms on the global market.
To implement the agreement, Thailand and Vietnam will work to create a government negotiation mechanism while trying to convince more rice exporting countries to join the initiative.
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, Thailand’s chief rice price negotiator, said that promoting fairer prices is the mission and responsibility of all rice exporting countries. As climate change is affecting rice cultivation and rice production worldwide, all parties need to work together to ensure food security.
Farmers will have to deal with unfair rice prices in the global market without help and cooperation between the parties.
President of the Thai Rice Mills Affiliation Rangsan Sabaimuang also advocates fairer prices for all parties. Therefore, the cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam has become the first step to implement the above efforts.
The President of the Thai Farmers’ Association Pramot Charoensin welcomed cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand on rice prices, but warned that India still has the largest voice in the pricing of rice in the global market as it is the largest rice exporter in the world.
Therefore, if only Thailand and Vietnam sell rice at a higher price, rice importing countries may turn to India to seek supply.
The early morning sun peaks over the leafy Thai hillside as a crew of 20 migrant workers toss fresh rice seedlings into the soaked paddy fields, signifying the start of the rice season in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province.
Speed and agility are the driving forces for the group of male and female laborers, mostly from neighboring Myanmar, who get paid by the hectare to plant the crop, earning as much as $35 a day, but working dusk to dawn.
The men and women have crossed into Thailand - some illegally - to earn a higher-than-average wage as word of rising rice production in the country translates into added days in the field.
Amid concerns about wheat shortages in Russia and Ukraine, Thai economists say demand for rice is set to rise this year, driven by the war in Ukraine and its impact on global commodity prices.
For Thailand, as the world’s third highest exporter of the crop - behind India and Vietnam - there is hope of added benefits for the workers.
While analysts predict Europe’s wheat shortage will help increase profits for rice producers as a substitute crop, many in the labor force face other obstacles.
“I want the government to help us farmers more, not just help the middleman, because we’re investing more money into this business than they are. Fertilizers are expensive, the cost of workers is high, and it’s not worth it,” says farmer Prajuk Kantiya, who oversees the work crew.
A weak Thai baht currency has helped make rice export prices more attractive but the long-term sustainability of increased rice production raises questions.
Economist Nisit Panthamit, a professor at Chiang Mai University, points out the need for a balanced plan and better technology that will encourage and support the next generation of farmers in Thailand beyond Ukraine’s crisis.
“The income of the farmer should be better and going up in the long run, but the productivity, how can you reduce the risk and reduce the cost of production that will be a sustainable way for farmers to gain on the world levels?”
Government research centers are exploring new technology to cut costs for Thailand’s agricultural sector.
“We are trying to incorporate newer techniques in farming in our “Young Smart Farmer” project, such as by using drones and other equipment that can lower the cost of farming and make it more convenient for farmers to plant their crops,” explains Nipon Boonmee, a director at the Chiang Mai Rice Research Center.
“We also have another project that focuses on experimenting with the environment's effects on different rice strains. For instance, we’re analyzing which species of rice can adapt the best to environmental changes and which days are the most suitable for planting because we understand that the world is changing,” Boonmee tells VOA.
While the plans sound good for the long term, local farmers currently face more pressing issues.
Added expenses, like rising fuel and fertilizer prices as a result of Russia’s invasion, along with the fallout from trade restrictions and price hikes have hit farmers’ wallets.
“As the price of the rice goes up, the amount of money we use to invest in supplies, like gas and fertilizer, will also increase, which it has. A bag of fertilizer used to cost 600 baht ($20) now it’s 1,000 baht.($30) It’s no surprise that the cost of buying rice has increased,” Boonmee adds.
Last month, Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced plans to talk with Vietnam to discuss the possibilities of a joint global price increase on rice, though questions remain as to who will benefit.
“Even if the price goes up today, we cannot just immediately produce additional supplies,” explains economist Panthamit. “To make things that work in a sustainable way in the long term, we have to make sure to balance the supply and demand.”
Still, Thailand’s rice exports are benefiting from a rebound in global demand as the coronavirus pandemic eases. That means for workers like Kantiya, who was unemployed because of the COVID-19 lockdown, the future looks brighter.
“Even after my quarantine period, my post-symptoms made it hard for me to work,” Kantiya explains to VOA, as he rests at the edge of a newly planted field.
“I think there will be a higher demand for rice supplies because of all the war that's going on and I’d be grateful if I could get a good price on rice.”
BANGKOK, THAILAND — The La Niña weather phenomenon will provide plentiful precipitation and water supplies for rice farmers in Thailand, yielding 20 million tonnes of rice in marketing year 2022-23, a 2% increase over 2021-22, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
USDA’s FAS Bangkok Post is forecasting rice exports in 2022 at 8 million tonnes, up 31% from 6.1 million tonnes in 2021, due to larger exporter supplies.
“The weakening of the Thai baht has made Thai rice export prices attractive and competitive,” FAS said. “Traders anticipate increased demand for Thai rice for the remainder of 2022 as current prices for Thai rice are competitive to other exporting countries.”
Wheat imports for 2022-23 have been revised down to 2.7 million tonnes, as milling wheat demand has decreased more than growing demand for feed wheat. Despite the reduction, 2022-23 wheat imports are still 8% higher than 2021-22.
FAS revised down milling wheat imports to 1.1 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous year despite an expected increase in the number of foreign tourists.
“Flour mills are cautious in building up inventories of milling wheat and flour due to concerns about high import prices of milling wheat,” FAS said. “In addition, bakeries have slowed production of bakery goods due to a 20% increase in production costs.”
FAS expects that imports of feed wheat will increase to 1.6 million tonnes, up 14% from the previous year. Traders are expecting strong demand for poultry exports in line with the economic recovery, which will lead to an increased demand for feed wheat and other feed ingredients in poultry production.
In addition, the government of Thailand announced the temporary removal of import restrictions on feed wheat between May 10 and July 31, 2022, which could increase demand for feed wheat imports.
The FAS forecast for 2021-22 corn production remains unchanged at 5.3 million tonnes, down 4% 2020-21 due to reduced off-season corn acreage. The forecast for 2021-22 corn imports remains unchanged at 1.5 million tonnes, down 22% from 2020-21. Local feed mills are likely to use locally produced corn and broken rice for feed production.
Professor Apichart Vanavichit, Director at the Rice Science Center in Thailand, highlights the attempt to develop rice that directly benefits well-beingRice, a staple food for the majority of countries, has always carried health risks. Eating rice in excess of moderation can cause risks particularly when it comes to sugar in the blood. Rice is actually the basis of 50% of daily energy needs for the population of the world. Did you know that purple rice used to be considered such a delicacy, it was only served to Emperors and used as a base for foods made to be given to spirits? Rice has a rich, fascinating history, which rises up to meet the present day with advice and insight. In a pioneering project, Professor Vanavichit is part of a push to create an easy-to-grow, healthy strain of rice. Wholegrain, pigmented rice like Riceberry rice is one of the most likely sources of healthy nutrition. However, when it comes to wholegrain rice, it can be difficult to balance taste with nutritional and health benefits. While the rice is infinitely better for the human body, it also often lacks the aromatic appeal of a classic, white rice – which is also melded into traditions across the world as the norm. To change a norm this deep-rooted, the new form of rice has to manage taste, health benefits and be as easily accessible as existing forms of rice. The intricate science behind how Riceberry rice impacts human health is at the forefront of food technology, which will shape the future of diabetes and hypertension management if it can be successfully introduced to global markets. In addition, rice growing usually requires a heady mix of chemicals – contributing to climate change, as the demand for this product remains intrinsically high. Organic forms of rice, while benefitting future health, can also protect the Earth from the need for excessive pollution.
5/30/2017 The Nation (Thailand)PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Commerce Ministry to accelerate sales of the rice in its stockpiles within the term of his military-led regime, as storage costs have been exceeding Bt1 billion a month. Speaking yesterday at the Thailand Rice Convention in Bangkok, an international event aimed at knowledge exchange and discussions on developing the rice industry, Prayut stressed the need to sell off the entire rice stockpile, which had been putting pressure of Thai rice prices for two to three years. To date, the Commerce Ministry has sold about 13 million tonnes of the 18 million tonnes of rice it had in stock, worth more than Bt100 billion. Prayut partially blamed corruption for the low revenues earned from sales of rice rather than the costs entailed by the last elected governments rice-pledging programme, while legal cases arising from that programme drag on in several courts. The other reason the government must expedite sales of the rice remaining in its warehouses is that its existence has severely distorted the normal rice trade mechanism. Having rice in storage has cost the government more than Bt1 billion per month. The key target is to release rice in stock within this governments term so that it will not have to shoulder this burden further and the [rice] market mechanism will return to normal, Prayut said. The next target is to add value to Thai rice and make Thailand the leader in rice trade with internationally recognised innovative rice products and an efficient rice-market mechanism, he said. A strategic plan for the rice industry is conclude in the Prayut regimes 20-year national strategy. It includes production restructuring, reduction of rice-farming areas, a balance between production for local consumption and for export, and making farmers more self-sufficient for sustainability. Clustering of community enterprises for rice innovation is also encouraged in line with the regimes Thailand 4.0 policy, and the next step is to push for concrete plans. On the regional front, Prayut said Thailand was trying to connect its plans for the rice market with those of neighbouring countries particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), given their proximity in culture and lifestyle. Collaboration will yield more benefits than competition, and this collaboration must embrace the whole system extending from the public to private and business sectors, he said. CLMV pays high attention on a transformation from rice grown for sales to rice with innovation for higher rice prices, while changing farming crops suitable for land. Prayut said farmers should change their mindsets to see opportunities in consumer trends. Outstanding products such as bakery materials, cosmetics and skincare products must be developed to serve the mass market. If this strategy is successful, Thailand will become the leader in the rice market as targeted and, under the 20-year national strategy, drive itself out of the middle-income trap, he said. In regard to Thailands G2G with China, no progress has been made yet, Prayut said, adding the problem arose in difficulties in negotiation in other matters an that affected the rice trade negotiation. Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said development of the rice industry would focus on linking research and innovation with commercial products, both food and non-food. Rice prices have been rising after her ministry expedited the sale of stockpiled rice and there is about 2 million tonnes left, she said. The Thailand Rice Convention brought together representatives of the public and private sectors from more than 40 countries including China, Japan, Malaysia, Iran and South Africa. During the event, the government met with Iraqs trade minister on opportunities for export of Thai rice to that country. It also met with Vietnams deputy minister of industry and trade to discuss bilateral cooperation. The convention was also a venue for business matching between Thai exporters of rice and rice products and importers. Today, foreign representatives were to visit the Royal Chitralada Project involving the processing of Thai rice into innovative products. The Thailand Rice Convention, which began on Sunday and ends today, aims to promote Thailand as the worlds rice-trade centre and showcase Thai rice innovation. It is hosted by the Commerce Ministrys Department of Foreign Trade in cooperation with other organisations in both the public and private sectors. Highlights of the convention include the multidimensional facets of innovation within Thailands rice industry. The Thailand Rice Convention 2017 comes under the theme Rice Plus, as it aims at showcasing Thailands potential in the global arena for quality rice trade and production, Apiradi said. Various innovative rice products are presented, showing how far the Thai rice industry has advanced in its technological development and technological integration. Reaping the benefits of the technological revolution, all parties in the industry have benefited from tremendous value addition to rice. This corresponds with the governments Thailand 4.0 economic model striving to transform the Thai economy into a value-based economy.
“Thailand Rice Convention 2017” (TRC 2017) – a premier international forum for rice – is currently being held by the Foreign Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry, in collaboration with related organisations from both the public and private sectors.
4/25/2017Thai News ServiceThe Department of Foreign Trade said Thailand has so far this year exported 3.4 million tons of rice, up 6.4%. Director-general of the department Mrs Duangporn Rodphaya said the rice export as of mid this month stood at 51 billion baht in value. With the increase of rice export as compared with same period, she was confident that the country's rice export will reach the target of 10 million tons by the end of the year. She added that the government is releasing 17.7 million tons of rice from its stockpiles as quickly as possible. She expects more than 150 billion baht to be generated from the release. She stressed the need to release rice in stocks despite facing losses, in order to reduce expenses, costing 17 million baht per day. - Thai PBS
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