THAILAND – Rice production in Thailand is forecast to rise to 21 million metric tons despite flooding, according to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The 11 percent increase from MY 2020/21 has been attributed to increased main-rice production and an expected recovery in offseason rice production. 

USDA officials expect the average yield from the main-rice crop in non-irrigated areas to be well above last year due to more favorable weather conditions during the reproductive growth stage. 

The higher average yields will likely more than offset the minimal flood damage that happened in September and October 2021, according to USDA officials. 

Thai rice exports are expected to rise 2% to 5.8 MMT with Thai rice exporters remaining optimistic for the rest of 2021 and into 2022 due to current inquiries from foreign buyers following reduced rice exports during the first half of 2021. 

Most of Thai exports go to South Africa, the United States, China, Japan, and Cameroon which together account for 45 percent of all rice exports. 

Corn production falls  

 Corn production is however expected to decline 4% to 5.3 MMT, according to recent estimates by USDA’s foreign agricultural service in Bangkok.  

The decline has been attributed to a decrease in main-crop corn acreage as the crop was snubbed by farmers for other alternatives such as cassava which offer better returns.  

As supply tightens, prices have been soaring with average farm-gate prices of corn between January and September 2021 being around 8.03 baht/kilogram ($264/MT), up 5 percent from the same period last year.  

As local supply tightens, the country has relied on outside markets resulting in an 18% rise in imports  in MY 2020/21.  

Thailand’s appetite for wheat imports is expected to decline 6% to 3.1 MMT in MY 2020/21. 

FAS attributes the reduced demand for wheat to the upward trend of global wheat prices and increased shipping costs due to shipping container shortages. 

Domestic demand for bakery items is also reportedly lower than expected due to the slow economic recovery meaning that the large inventory by flour mills is sufficient to meet demand in the short term.  

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