Govt to boost rice exports to Philippines
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Govt to boost rice exports to Philippines

Workers unload sacks of rice in a warehouse in Nakhon Pathom. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Workers unload sacks of rice in a warehouse in Nakhon Pathom. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The government is seeking to increase rice exports to the Philippines now that the Southeastern Asian nation is expected to import more rice than previously forecast this year.

"The Philippines is one of Thailand's major rice export markets. I've ordered Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) and the commercial attaché in the Philippines to work on a deal to sell more Thai rice to it as the price of Thai rice remains competitive and has better quality," Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said on Sunday.

Mr Phumtham recently ordered the DFT and commercial attachés in countries worldwide to explore trade opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs.  

The Foreign Agricultural Service of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that the Philippines would import 4.1 million tonnes of rice this year, up around 200,000 tonnes or 5.1% from its previous estimate of 3.9 million tons in February due to smaller harvests from local farms. If the forecast is correct, this would represent a 14% increase compared to the 3.6 million tonnes of rice the archipelago imported in 2023.

The agency also lowered its milled rice production forecast for the Philippines this year to 12.3 million tonnes from its previous estimate of 12.5 million tonnes, bucking expectations that global rice output would increase to 515.4 million tonnes due mainly to a larger crop expected from India.

In 2023, 82% of the Philippines' rice imports came from Vietnam, with the rest from Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan and India, among others.

"Concerned agencies have been instructed to accelerate the development of new commercial rice varieties, notably those with high amylose content that the Philippines want, in order to get market share back for Thai rice producers," Mr Phumthan said.

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