Steps aim to spur Thai rice exports

Steps aim to spur Thai rice exports

Includes G2G deals, bid to raise visibility

The Commerce Ministry has launched measures to increase rice exports to 6 million tonnes this year, valued at around 150 billion baht, with Indonesia, China, Bangladesh and Iraq set to be the main markets under government-to-government (G2G) deals.

G2G deals and a campaign to make Thai rice more recognisable among other communities around the world will spearhead efforts to increase the export volume from last year's 5.7 million tonnes, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said on Wednesday.

To attain the goal for 2021, Thailand must export at least 500,000 tonnes of rice per month, however, the export volumes in January and February were below this benchmark level due to relatively high prices compared with rival exporters, caused by the strong baht and low supply levels caused by drought, according to Charoen Laothammatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

The ministry is working with the Thai Rice Exporters Association to promote Thai rice under the "Think Rice, Think Thailand" campaign, said Mr Jurin.

Thailand successfully made Thai rice become better known in Canada, increasing its exports to the country by 21% to 120,000 tonnes last year, from 80,000 tonnes in 2019, said Mr Jurin, who attributed the success to "our team of salesmen in Toronto".

These officials promote Thai rice via online channels and by blending the Thai staple with dishes popular in Canada, such as through the introduction of a rice salad recipe and by working in tandem with Canadian culinary schools to promote Thai rice, he said.

One of the distinctive characteristics of Thai rice is its very low sugar content. This would make it the preferred choice among Canadians. Up to 28% of the Canadian population has high blood sugar levels, said Mr Jurin.

The cabinet approved the export of 4 million tonnes of rice to Indonesia for four years and 5 million tonnes to Bangladesh for five years under G2G deals.

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