Chiang Rai, the northernmost province in Thailand, has become a major production base for Japanese rice because of its climate and locally developed strains of Japonica varieties that have similar qualities to those grown in Japan.
Farmers in Chiang Rai use a machine for transplanting 20-day-old rice seedlings. Japanese rice requires a punctual schedule for transplanting and fertilisation, which some Thai farmers find hard to adhere to. But the toil pays back handsomely, with Japanese paddy selling for 11 baht a kilogramme as opposed to eight baht for Thai white rice paddy.
With an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius in winter, the province and a few others in the North are suited for planting short-grain Japonica rice.
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