Thailand targets exports of 6m tonnes of rice in 2021

Thailand targets exports of 6m tonnes of rice in 2021

FILE PHOTO: A rice mill worker holds up rice in Udon Thani, Sept 16, 2015. (Reuters)
FILE PHOTO: A rice mill worker holds up rice in Udon Thani, Sept 16, 2015. (Reuters)

Thailand is expecting to ship 6 million tonnes of rice in 2021, 5% higher than last year, when it exported its lowest volume of the grain in two decades, the commerce ministry said on Monday.

The 5.27 million tonnes exported last year means the country has moved to number three in the world for rice exports, overtaken by Vietnam, which shipped 6.2 million tonnes of the grain.

"Six million tonnes is a challenging target," Kirati Ratchano, director-general of Department of Foreign Trade, told a news conference after meeting exporters.

"The baht will likely continue to appreciate, making Thai rice more expensive than competitors."

The currency has gained 9% against the US dollar since April last year, making rice export prices consistently higher than those for similar grades produced by Vietnam and by India, the world's biggest rice exporter.

Rice exporters have bemoaned more challenges this year, including a global lack of shipping containers that have caused logistical disruptions and undermined sales.

India is expected to have exported 14.2 million tonnes of the commodity last year, according to its government's provisional data.

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