Hong Kong October 24, 2011 12:00 am
Although floods have cut rice output by 10 million tonnes, Thailand is confident of reaching total supply of 25 million tonnes next year on expectations of a higher yield in the next second crop.
Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the country would have enough rice for export. It is forecast that the yield will be rich after the flooding.
The Agriculture Ministry has reported that 10 million tonnes of rice output during the current harvest season has been wiped out by the heavy floods, particularly in the Central region.
However, Kittiratt said government studies indicated that second-crop rice production will increase in the harvest season beginning next June. Normally, about 8 million tonnes of rice are harvested in the second crop, but this is expected to rise to more than 12 million tonnes next year.
“Thailand will still have high ability to export rice. Although the export volume may drop slightly, the value will increase because of the government’s pledging scheme and stable demand in global rice trading,” he said.
According to the US Agriculture Department, about 31 million tonnes of rice will be traded next year. Of that, about 10 million tonnes will be from Thailand.
Thailand exported about 9 million tonnes of rice in the first nine months of the year. Total exports this year are expected to exceed 10 million tonnes.
Because of a drop in exports of Thai jasmine rice, Kittiratt led a delegation of exporters of the country’s famous rice strain to Hong Kong on the weekend in a bid to boost sales.
He said Thailand needed a marketing campaign emphasising the high quality of its rice to boost export value. That would be in line with the government’s policy of encouraging Thai rice exporters to concentrate on more value-added goods.
“Thailand is losing market share in fragrant rice to Vietnam and other countries, so we should take this as a serious problem,” he said. “The [Commerce] Ministry’s roadshow campaign will tighten connections with traders in potential export markets with high purchasing power, mainly Hong Kong and [mainland] China.”
Kittiratt led a team from the Thai Rice Exporters Association to meet with the Rice Merchants Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Rice Suppliers Association and the city’s rice importers and exporters.
Hong Kong is an important market for Thai rice exports, particularly jasmine rice, as Hongkongers have high purchasing power and are familiar with Thai rice. Exports of jasmine rice to that market are 200,000-250,000 tonnes a year.