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Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has said that Thai rice will meet its annual export target of 10mn tonnes, despite the ongoing drought crisis
The ministry forecasts that the price of rice in the second half of the year is expected to rise, due to low supplies stifled by the dry season. The drought has hit many rice producers in the region, and a number of countries began importing rice for fear of further drought.
Despite high overseas demand, the ministry has insisted that the government needs to take a conservative approach and maintain reserves of at least five million tonnes to ensure food security.
Thailand has also been urged to manage its rice industry more efficiently in terms of global supply and demand, as many countries have become more self-sufficient in rice cultivation and will rely less on import of the grain. These countries include Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia and some in the Middle East.
“With these self-sufficiency policies, Thailand, which is one of the world’s major rice suppliers, will need to ensure that its agricultural policy, especially rice cultivation, is balanced in terms of supply and demand in the world market,” a rice trader said.
According to the company, many countries in the Asian region are expected to vie for Thai rice imports under government-to-government and private contracts. The Philippines, for instance, is expected to open rice bidding soon in order to ensure adequate supply amid region-wide drought.