May 20, 2015

20/05/2015: Thailand's Prime Minister addresses farmer-processor-trader concerns at Thailand Rice Convention 2015

Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha officially opened the 7th Thailand Rice Convention 2015 today and welcomed a diverse audience from rice farmer representatives from across Thailand to processors, manufacturers and exporters and through to rice traders and rice importers.

In his wide-ranging presentation he had messages for all sectors of the industry and while acknowledging that the world price for rice could not be ignored, he called on all sectors of the industry, both domestically and internationally, to work together to provide farmers with better returns for their labours.
Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha officially opening the 7th Thailand Rice Convention 2015 today
He began by acknowledging the “invaluable contribution” made by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirinthorn to the livelihoods of farmers throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and to the philosophy of “sufficiency economy that is the royal thought of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej."

“Rice is essential to the Thai way of life and is one of the important exporting products which the government has established clear policies and a strategic grain trade in line with the country’s sustainable development approach, to reaffirm to rice importing countries and consumers’ confidence from all regions around the world,” he told the 500-plus delegates and gathered international press.

“Moreover, through integrating all rice shareholders’ agenda including government, farmers and rice traders, it is to assure that Thailand continues as leading manufacturer and exporter of rice in the global trade and remains the world’s best kitchen, steadily and sustainably.

“I am very delighted to have the honour of addressing the importance of rice in Thailand along with the strategies and rice trade policies of Thailand,” he told delegates.

The subjects he covered in his presentation included the role of Thailand in the global rice market, the demand and supply trends for the agricultural sector and strategies and future of Thai rice.

In discussing the global rice scenario he pointed out that while Thailand ranked number one exporter with 10.97 million tonnes exported in 2014 (worth over US$5439 million), rice manufacturing and exporting countries, including Thailand, faced high volatility, market uncertainty and “hindrances” affecting rice cultivation from natural disasters and trade competition.

He called for closer co-operation between ASEAN rice producing countries and other producers in order to manage the supply of rice to the marketplace without causing unnecessary conflict and competition. 

He also pointed to external factors, such as the shortages of water in different rice producing regions that is now beginning to have a significant impact on rice supply and demand.

In order to manage the demand and supply of rice that is in line with current situations and market mechanisms he said his government would focus on seven aspects including:

  • A stable and sustainable development plan for rice
  • Establish fairness in the rice trading system
  • Promote and push forward the implantation of manufacturing and trade standards to meet international standards
  • Develop the rice trading system
  • Encourage rice consumption
  • Create rice interventions
  • Enhance the efficiencies in the management of logistics
In the short term the government will accelerate the restructuring of the management of rice production by designating rice cultivation areas that are suitable for each variety and producing rice in the quantities that meet the market demand and reduce the areas for off-season rice production in order to keep the rice volume at appropriate levels.

“Moreover, the government will be providing support in production planning, research and development, offering assistance in improving rice production and quality, promoting production of certain rice for niche markets.”

He said his government will not disrupt market mechanisms by focusing its attention on research and development in good rice varieties with better quality and higher yields and lower costs. In addition, it will promote the use of organic fertilisers and bio-fertilisers to maintain the standard quality and safety of plant food.

He would like to see rice yields increase by 25 percent compared to 2015 and for rice production costs to be decreased by 20 percent, all by 2021.

Overall, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha successfully addressed the immediate issues faced by the three main groups represented at the Convention - rice farmers, rice manufacturers/processors and rice traders.

A full report on details of his policies presented will be published in the June edition of Milling and Grain magazine (which will be published in Spanish, Turkish, Arabic and English).

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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