Thailand’s rice export target has been set at 6 million tonnes this year, the Commerce Ministry reported on Monday.
The target was set after talks between the Foreign Trade Department (FTD) and the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said FTD director-general Keerati Rushchano.
The target was appropriate but challenging as the Thai rice price was higher than competitors such as India and Vietnam, he said.
Other challenging factors are the goods-container shortage and waning purchasing power of Covid-hit importing countries.
Keerati added that the baht exchange rate was the key to meeting the export target. The competitiveness of Thai rice rests on its high quality and on-time export delivery.
Last year Thai rice exports fell 24.54 per cent to 5.72 million tonnes, representing the lowest level in 20 years. The export value dipped 11.23 per cent to US$3.727 billion.
Thailand’s biggest rice export market last year was South Africa, which took 672,777 tonnes or 11.75 per cent of total rice exports.
The US was second, taking 672,183 tonnes or 11.74 per cent of Thai rice exports. China was fourth, importing 381,363 tonnes or 6.66 per cent.
Of total rice exports last year, 1.9 million tonnes was white rice, 1.45 million tonnes was Thai jasmine, 1.49 million tonnes was parboiled rice and 0.28 million tonnes was sticky rice.
The decline in exports last year was blamed mainly on the strengthening baht. The country also faced competition from Chinese rice exports to South Africa.
India was the world’s largest rice exporter last year, shipping 13.61 million tonnes – 5.96 million tonnes to Vietnam, 5.72 million tonnes to Thailand and 3.55 million tonnes to Pakistan.