New Thai rice varieties lined up to boost exports

New Thai rice varieties lined up to boost exports

Thailand plans to develop 12 new commercial rice varieties by 2024 to boost rice export competitiveness.

Speaking after an award ceremony for new commercial rice varieties, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the ministry set up a war room to accelerate Thai rice development and increase exports, for both existing and new markets.

Of the 12 new varieties, Mr Jurin said four are hard-texture grains, four are soft texture, two are Thai fragrant rice and two are high-nutrition types. These varieties are in high demand among global consumers, he said.

"Thailand must be a leader in producing quality rice," said Mr Jurin. "The strategy requires focus on solving two problems: Thai rice can no longer compete on price and we have few varieties."

The national rice strategy calls for production costs to be reduced to an average of 3,000 baht per tonne, from 6,000 baht per tonne now, while increasing yields to an average of 600 kilogrammes per rai, from 465kg currently, within five years.

If achieved, this should improve the country's competitiveness in the global market, he said.

Thailand shipped 6.11 million tonnes of rice last year, up 6.68% from 5.73 million tonnes in 2020, with exports valued at 108 billion baht, down by 7.14% from 116 billion in 2020.

The shipments comprised 2.35 million tonnes of white rice (up 18.9%), 1.4 million tonnes of Thai hom mali rice (down 1.7%), 1.4 million tonnes of parboiled rice (up 1.6%), 550,574 tonnes of aromatic rice (down 4.1%) and 310,878 tonnes of glutinous rice (up 12.4%).

The Thai Rice Exporters Association forecast outbound shipments gaining 14.8% this year to 7 million tonnes, driven by sufficient water supply. Higher demand is anticipated thanks to a global economic recovery, while a favourable exchange rate should help.

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