22 May 2015
The National Rice Policy and Management Committee has set a goal of developing Thailand as a leading country for rice trade in the world market through efficient marketing mechanisms.
Thailand also aims to seek cooperation with ASEAN in order to create a balance in both production and trade, so that the country will become a stable rice-producing country. As a result, farmers will have better living conditions and farmers’ organizations will be strengthened. This will also lead to a fair trade system, without market distortions.
In his keynote address on 20 May 2015 at Thailand Rice Convention 2015, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the Government has worked out clear policies and strategies to develop Thai rice. Despite market fluctuations and impacts on rice production, caused by various forms of natural disasters, as well as greater competition, Thailand is still striving to produce and export rice of good quality to consumers worldwide.
In 2014, Thailand reclaimed the world's top rice exporter status. It exported 10.97 million tons of rice, valued at 5,439 million US dollars. In 2015, Thailand has set a target to export rice in both volume and value, close to that of 2014. Major importers of Thai rice include China, the United States, the European Union, South Africa, and countries of Oceania.
The Prime Minister said that demand for rice is increasing in accordance with the growing world population. It is predicted to increase by 11 percent, from 435 million tons in 2009-2010 to 483 million tons in 2014-2015. The Government is aware of the need to restructure rice production and management in line with the changing situation.
In the short term, the Government will reduce the areas for off-season rice farming, assist farmers in rice production planning, and promote research and development in order to increase the potential for the production of high-quality rice.
In the long term, it focuses on developing rice varieties, with high yields but low production costs. A target has been set to increase Thai rice production by 25 percent and reduce production costs by 20 percent in 2021. At the same time, the Government will promote top-quality rice for niche markets, such as organic rice, sprouted brown rice, riceberry rice, and Sang Yot rice. The objective is to add value and diversity to Thai rice. New technology will be adopted to reduce production costs and increase efficiency, as well as upgrading the value chain and the processing of rice into various products.
In order to maintain the quality of Thai rice, premium rice and indigenous rice that has been registered as geographical indications, such as Thung Kula Ronghai rice, will receive a major boost. Thai rice culture will also be added to various international trade fairs in order to make Thai rice better known worldwide.
Moreover, the Government is implementing a policy to develop special economic zones to add value to rice and other agricultural products from Thailand and neighboring countries.