Tapioca exports predicted to miss target
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Tapioca exports predicted to miss target

The country's tapioca product exports are highly likely to miss the target of 8.5 million tonnes this year because of weak global demand and lower supply from the widespread cassava mosaic virus.

Keerati Rushchano, acting director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said Thailand is projected to export just 7.5 million tonnes this year, down 10% from the target.

The export value is likely to stay unchanged from the forecast of US$2.8 billion.

Last year, Thailand shipped 8.2 million tonnes of tapioca products worth $3.1 billion. Production was estimated at 31 million tonnes for the 2018-19 season, with the figures expected to stay unchanged for the 2019-20 season.

The Commerce Ministry reported that for the first nine months this year Thailand exported 5.27 million tonnes of tapioca products, down 17%, with value of $2.03 billion, down 12%.

Mr Keerati said the department set a target to increase shipments of tapioca products to 9 million tonnes worth $2.9 billion next year.

To achieve the target, the department consulted with the private sector, including the Thai Tapioca Trade Association, the Thai Tapioca Starch Association, the North Eastern Tapioca Trade Association and the Thai Tapioca Products Factory Association. They agreed on export and strategic plans for the year to come.

Next year's involves a focus on the key existing export market, China; a revival of traditional markets such as the EU; and an expansion into new markets such as Turkey, New Zealand, India, South Korea and the Philippines.

Thailand also aims to ship a greater variety of tapioca products in 2020 to diversify risk.

Mr Keerati said the department expects fresh cassava root prices to exceed two baht per kilogramme next year.

As of Nov 27, the price of fresh cassava root with 25% starch was quoted at 2.20-2.40 baht per kg.

The cabinet on Nov 12 approved 9.6 billion baht for the tapioca price guarantee scheme for the 2019-20 harvest season.

The price guarantee is set at 2.50 baht per kg, limited to 100 tonnes per family.

The programme runs from Oct 1, 2019, to Dec 31, 2020 and is expected to cover 540,000 farmers.

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