Thailand may lose No 1 rice exporter’s ranking to India next year


Thailand ranks the world’s top rice exporter for the first six months of this year with five million tonnes of rice exported representing an increase of 12.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

Thai Rice Exporters Association president Mr Charoen Laothammathat said Wednesday that he expected Thailand would retain this position with 9.5 million tonnes of rice estimated to be exported for the whole year.

Ranking the second, third and fourth places after Thailand for the first half of this year are India, Vietnam and Pakistan with export figures of 4.76 million tonnes, an increase of 12 percent; 2.66 million tonnes, a drop of 2.1 percent; and 2.44 milllion tonnes, an increase of 7.5 percent respectively.

However, Mr Charoen predicted that Thailand may lose its No 1 rice exporter’s ranking to India next year, citing stiffer price competition among the major exporters, increased rice cultivation in Thailand, Vietnam and India and purchasing slowdown among importing countries as well as the strengthening of baht currency.

Thailand’s total paddy rice yield this year was estimated at between 16-17 million tonnes with about 10-20 percent increase in the production of Hom Mali and sticky rice. Paddy price is expected to fetch less than 10,000 baht per tonne.

Mr Charoen suggested the government to work out measures to help rice farmers in wake of price drop but he said he was against price intervention. For instance, he said the government should provide farmers with a 2,000 baht per rai subsidy for farmers who farmed less than 20 rai.

He admitted that the exporters do not have enough money to buy rice from farmers to be kept at their warehouses, reasoning that exporters last year bought 150,000 tonnes of Hom Mali rice from farmers at 26,000 baht per tonne while the market price now for Hom Mali ranges from 22,000-23,000 baht per tonne.

Regarding the leftover rice from the rice pledging scheme estimated at nine million tonnes, Mr Charoen said the government could continue to sell the rice from stockpiles but at the right timing and at appropriate quantities and at prices between 10-20 percent lower than the prices of new crops.


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