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Thailand's fragrant Hom Mali rice voted world's best

Thailand's Hom Mali rice was declared the world's best rice on Wednesday. (File photo)

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The World Rice Conference has declared Thailand's fragrant Hom Mali variety the world's best rice, maintaining Thailand's number one position.

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It's official: Thai rice is the world's best

Phusadee Arunmas

The World Rice Conference has declared Thailand's fragrant Hom Mali variety the world's best rice, maintaining Thailand's number one position after several years of lower rice quality due to a previous rice-pledging scheme.

Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said that the conference in Macau on Wednesday declared the Hom Mali 105 variety the world's best rice in 2017, while the second and third rankings went to Cambodian and Vietnam.

He said the referees were chefs from hotels in Macau, and the criteria were the taste and shape of the rice grain.

It was the second consecutive year that Thailand's fragrant rice won the championship. It had lost the title to Myanmar in 2011, Cambodia in 2012-2013 and the US in 2015.

Winning the title again this year would boost Thai rice revenues, Mr Chookiat said, as it would increase both global demand and prices.

He added the price of Thai Hom Mali rice was already much higher than that of Cambodian and Vietnamese varieties, with Thai Hom Mali quoted at US$850 a tonne, compared to Cambodia's at $750 and Vietnam's at $550.

Over the past four years, the price of Cambodian rice approached the Thai price, Mr Chookiat said, as Cambodian rice was judged the world's best rice in 2012 and 2013.

This year's contest involved 21 rice varieties from rice-producing countries. Thailand nominated three varieties.

"Thailand lost the championship for four years because the quality of Thai rice dropped due to the rushed rice cultivation that resulted from a previous pledging scheme that accepted every grain. We're champions again because we're emphasising rice quality once more," Mr Chookiat said.

He encouraged the government to promote organic rice cultivation, which he said would bring back the naturally fragrant Hom Mali rice of the past, when paddy fields were not contaminated with chemicals.

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Vocabulary:

association : an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม

boost : to increase; to strengthen - เพิ่ม; ทำให้มีกำลังมากขึ้น

championship (noun): the position of being a champion - ตำแหน่งชนะเลิศ

chef : a professional cook, especially the most senior cook in a restaurant, hotel, etc. - คนครัว,หัวหน้าครัว

consecutive : following one after another in order - ติดต่อกัน

contaminated : made dirty, polluted or poisonous by the addition of a chemical, waste or infection - ปนเปื้อน

criteria : a standard that is used for judging something or for making a decision about something - บรรทัดฐาน

cultivation : the preparation and use of land for growing plants or crops - การเตรียมดินสำหรับเพาะปลูก

declare : to announce officially - ประกาศ

demand : the amount of a product or service that people want - ความต้องการ

due to : because of - เนื่องจาก

emphasise (verb): to give special importance to something - เน้น

encourage : to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน

exporter (noun): a person, company or country that sells goods to another country - ผู้ส่งออก

fragrant : having a pleasant smell - หอม, หอมหวน, หอมหวาน

global : throughout the world - ทั่วโลก

grain : the small hard seeds of food plants such as wheat, rice, etc; a single seed of such a plant - เมล็ดข้าว, เมล็ดพืช

honorary : given as an honour, without the person having to have the usual qualifications; not paid - ซึ่งให้เพื่อเป็นเกียรติ; กิตติมศักดิ์

involved (verb): taking part or having a role in something - เกี่ยวข้อง, มีบทบาท

judge : to form an opinion about somebody/something, based on the information you have - ตัดสิน

maintain : to keep - รักษา

nominate : to formally propose or suggest something - เสนอ

paddy field : a field planted with rice growing in water - นาข้าว

promote : to encourage or support something - สนับสนุน

quality : the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ

rankings (noun): the position of somebody/something on a scale that shows how good or important they are in relation to other similar people or things, especially in sport - อันดับ

referee (noun): a person who is in charge of a sports game or other competition and who makes certain that the rules are followed - ผู้ตัดสิน, กรรมการตัดสิน

revenue : income from taxes or business activities - รายได้

rice-pledging scheme : a government programme in which farmers sell rice to the government at a particular price, with the right to reclaim the rice if the market price goes higher - โครงการจำนำข้าว

title (noun): the position of a winner in a sports or other competition - ตำแหน่งแชมป์

variety : a type of a thing, for example a plant or language, that is different from the others in the same general group - ประเภท ชนิด หรือลักษณะ

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