No need for El Niño-related trade measures
text size

No need for El Niño-related trade measures

Special measures related to the export and import of products affected by El Niño may not be necessary this year, as trade activities remain unaffected by the weather phenomenon, according to the first meeting of the war room recently established to assess the impact of El Niño on Thai farm products.

Keerati Rushchano, the permanent commerce secretary, said on Friday the meeting of Commerce Ministry agencies, commercial counsellors worldwide and representatives from the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry as well as the Meteorological Department agreed that no specific trade measures need to be issued this year as trade activities continue as usual.

"The impact of the El Niño phenomenon on trade is unlikely to be felt this year, but close monitoring of rainfall and water availability during September and October is necessary. For next year, when drought conditions are expected, such monitoring will continue," said Mr Keerati.

"If necessary, measures will be considered, including export and import regulations. As of now, no signs indicate immediate action is needed."

He said the meeting focused on tracking information related to the upcoming drought influenced by El Niño. This includes water availability and significant crops such as rice, cassava, maize and palm oil that are closely tied to consumption and food security.

"We discussed what information needs to be monitored, how to track it, both domestically and internationally, and identified critical factors. Rainfall, water availability and drought conditions were highlighted, with reports expected at least once a month," said Mr Keerati.

"Immediate reporting is required for urgent events, allowing us to anticipate trends and prepare effectively. It's proactive planning."

Furthermore, he said commercial counsellors in 58 offices in 43 countries were tasked with tracking planting, consumption and agricultural product demand in their respective countries.

Reports from certain countries, such as India banning non-basmati white rice exports and measures taken by Vietnam and China in response to India's move, have been received.

Increasing demand for rice and agricultural products from various countries have been observed, said Mr Keerati.

Provincial commerce officials must also track farmers' cultivation conditions and production trends, identifying potential problems.

According to Mr Keerati, the impact of the weather phenomenon on the production of key agricultural products such as rice is low because Thailand cultivates rice in excess of domestic consumption.

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry reported on Tuesday roughly 16.5 million rai of farmland across the country will be affected by decreased rainfall caused by the El Niño phenomenon this year.

Of the total affected farmland, 7.3 million rai are located across the 22 provinces in the Chao Phraya basin.

According to the Royal Irrigation Department's forecast, by the end of this year's rainy season in November, the nation's 35 major reservoirs will hold about 22.8 billion cubic metres of water -- about 13 billion less than last year.

Do you like the content of this article?