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April 2024

Quality and value-added is new emphasis for rice industry

Thailand’s emphasis going forward will be to focus on the quality rather than quantity of its rice as the country eyes a bigger share of the the worldwide premium market, said Deputy Director General of the Rice Department Arnont Nonsi on Thursday.

His remarks came during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Thailand Rice Fest 2023, which was hosted by The Cloud, one of Thailand’s most popular online magazines.

Thailand has limited land to further cultivate rice in comparison to other rice exporting countries such as India, which has 10 times more paddy fields, said Arnont. Thailand can no longer compete for the position of largest rice exporter.

“We would like to adopt ‘premiumisation’ of our rice market,” he said, explaining that the premium term refers to nutrition quality, environmentally friendly cultivation, value added from innovation and technology, and farming sustainability.

In addition to a focus on rice for eating, Arnont said his department intends to collaborate with other related agencies from both the public and private sectors to add more value and improve Thai rice for use in products such as cosmetics, beverages, and fragrances.

This is the right direction because some countries are interested in purchasing large quantities of quality Thai rice, he said.

Arnont NonsiArnont Nonsi

To shore up the overseas market, quality rice will be labelled with an approved sign from the Rice Department. As well, the department “must speak with our farmers in order to persuade them to grow quality rice in a superior and sustainable manner. We’ve already trained our officers to advise methods and care for them throughout the cultivation process,” he said.

He added that the department had also spoken with the Thai Rice Packers Association about helping to distribute this premium rice across the country.

Quality and value-added is new emphasis for rice industry

The Cloud hosted the first Thailand Rice Fest 2023 in order to raise awareness for Thai rice, as the company has previously done successfully for Thai coffee.

Zcongklod Bangyikhan, The Cloud’s editor-in-chief, noted that Thai coffee was rarely known or accepted in the market eight years ago. The company decided to host an event where farmers, blenders, entrepreneurs, and coffee enthusiasts could meet, greet, and exchange knowledge.

Thailand’s Coffee Fest has continued to this day, helping make Thai coffee known not only in the domestic market but also around the world.

As a result, Zcongklod said, he hoped to use this model to increase the popularity of Thai rice.

Zcongklod BangyikhanZcongklod Bangyikhan

Rice has been the country’s stable food for hundreds of years, and Thai culture and lifesytle have always been intertwined with rice. Yet, misinformation has been spreading that eating rice causes consumers to become overweight, and this is causing an increase in Thais avoiding rice, he explained.

The event aims to highlight the truth about rice, the variety of Thai rice breeds, their true benefits, and other potential for this product.

Participants, he said, will be thrilled and inspired by how versatile Thai rice can be. In addition to various rice menus and desserts, Thai researchers’ rice innovations are also on display.

Quality and value-added is new emphasis for rice industry

Thai rice research is being showcased through displays at the event, says Sutsawat Duangsrisai, the deputy director of a development unit at Thailand Science Research and Innovations.

The goal is to demonstrate how rice can be used for purposes other than eating, while also encouraging Thai entrepreneurs or startups to commercialise these findings.

Thailand Rice Fest 2023, along with the 8th Coffee Fest 2023, is now underway at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre until December 17.

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Published Date: December 15, 2023

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