Hom mali outlook upbeat
Credibility among traders remains high
Thai hom mali fragrant rice has promise both in terms of volume and value this year, with the government expecting shipments to top 2 million tonnes in 2019.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said hom mali rice shipments rose 15% last year to 1.65 million tonnes worth US$1.60 billion, an increase of 5.5% from the previous year.
Thailand's total rice exports topped 11.14 million tonnes last year, down 3.36% from 11.52 million tonnes in 2017, but export values rose 10% to $5.62 billion (180 billion baht), up 4.5% from a year earlier.
Mr Adul predicted Thai rice exports to stay at 10 million tonnes this year, with hom mali rice making up 1.5–2 million tonnes.
He said Thai hom mali prices are expected to remain strong this year.
As of Jan 23, Thai hom mali rice was quoted at $1,173 per tonne, up from $1,154 at the same period last year.
"Despite lower figures compared with the past two years, overall Thai rice export prospects, including for hom mali rice, remain promising in 2019 thanks to the quality and credibility of Thai rice among traders," Mr Adul said.
He said the Commerce Ministry plans to hold roadshows in the US, China, Hong Kong and Senegal this year.
The department also pledges to launch stringent inspections of rice exports to protect hom mali quality.
Mr Adul brushed aside the rumour that some farmers brought Vietnamese fragrant rice called Jasmine 58 to grow at Chumsaeng district in Nakhon Sawan province, resulting in a concern there will be a mixture of Vietnamese fragrant rice and Thai fragrant rice.
He said the department has standards to sample rice quality before export and it collects the sampling once they are exported and put on foreign shelves.
"The department insists there is no mixture of Vietnamese fragrant rice and Thai grains," said Mr Adul.
"The physical characteristics of Vietnamese and Thai fragrant rice are different. Vietnamese fragrant rice is a shorter grain while Thai hom mali is longer."