Rice forecast upheld amid downturn
Despite the global economic slowdown, the government is maintaining its rice export forecast at 10 million tonnes this year.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday the Commerce Ministry still strongly believes potential buyers and importers are confident in the quality of Thai rice.
He said the country puts great emphasis on premium quality and speciality rice such as fragrant hom mali, coloured varieties with special characteristics and organic rice, all of which fetch higher export prices.
Rice-based innovative products have been developed with modern technology, said Mr Adul.
"Thailand has reigned for over three decades as one of the world's leading rice exporters. Thai rice, regarded among the world's best, is exported to countries around the globe, taking up 20-25% of the global market, generating an average annual income of over 150 billion baht," he said.
In 2018, Thailand exported 11.09 million tonnes of rice, worth about 180 billion baht.
Charoen Laothamatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the government must focus on policy and action plan to promote farmers' awareness of the quality of rice and market-driven production so that Thailand can maintain competitiveness and leadership in the global rice market.
In a related development, Chutima Bunyapraphasara, the acting commerce minister, said to boost rice exports Thailand is scheduled to host the Thailand Rice Convention 2019 from May 27-29.
The ninth convention will be held under the theme "Rice Style: The New Global Lifestyle", promoting value-added rice through innovation.
Ms Chutima said the convention is a great platform that promotes Thailand as the leading rice exporting country, while strengthening trade partnerships with representatives from related public and private sectors.
The convention is expected to draw 800 delegates, 300 of whom are key players from around the world and 500 are farmers and entrepreneurs from throughout Thailand.