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Improved irrigation needed to keep Thai rice competitive
BANGKOK, March 20, (TNA) – Thailand must improve the country’s irrigation infrastructure if Thai rice exports are to compete with emerging competitors including China and Vietnam, a leading expert warned.

Thailand is the world’s top rice exporter, but is only the sixth biggest producer. Rice cultivation in Thailand is heavily dependent on rain, and output per acreage is low compared to other countries, according to Somsak Thongdeethae, Director of Pathumthani Rice Research Centre.

Thailand’s rice producers need an improved irrigation system to give them regular access to water throughout the year round as many of the popular varieties of rice consume large amounts of water, Mr. Somsak said.

China and Vietnam are working hard to develop fragrant rice varieties, he said. If Thailand does not improve, it may lose its share of the fragrant rice export market.

Labour is cheaper, and the soil composition and water supply relatively better in both China and Vietnam than in Thailand, enabling these countries to produce rice at a lower cost.

Countries, which are currently key importers of Thai rice, are also developing hybrid varieties suitable for local production, including India, Myanmar, Philippines and Indonesia, he said.

Thailand should also draw up a long-term rice production plan and allocate different zones for specific varieties of rice in line with domestic and export demand, the expert said.
MGR Archive 20.3.2005
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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