THAILAND (9 February)
Most of the country’s 400 km western coastline, including numerous islands in the Andaman Sea has been devastated by the tsunami. Some 5 300 people are reported dead and thousands more have been affected. In the worst-struck south-eastern provinces of Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun damage to tourism and fishing infrastructure is extensive.
In the fishery sector, some 3 000 fishing households were affected and some 5 400 fishing boats were either damaged or totally wrecked, with 75 percent being small-scale fishing boats. Damage to aquaculture floating cages is estimated at US$32.7 million, with a total of about 1.1 million square meters (or 41 439 cages) for marine fish culture, some 30 hectares of shrimp farms and 79 hectares of shellfish being damaged. There are no major damages to crops. Some 1 300 hectares of land became covered by sea water, of which 900 hectares were damaged.
WFP has provided some 11 675 tonnes of food since the advent of the disaster.
The current main agricultural activities include planting of second season rice for harvest from May-June. Despite an ongoing drought, the sown area for this crop is forecast to reach 8.23 million rais (6.25 rais= 1 hectare), exceeding the government target of 7.52 million rais, as a result of good price of rice. Thai 100% B grade rice price was offered around US$297 a tonne in January, up from around US$210-US$220 in January last year. The drought has ravaged agricultural growing areas in many provinces, with the earlier-than-usual end to the rainy season resulting in low water levels in reservoirs and dams throughout the country.
Thailand maintained its status as the world’s largest rice exporter in 2004, following several bumper rice crops and high prices. Rice export volume in 2004 is estimated at a record 10 million tonnes, 32 percent higher than in the previous year, while rice export value reach US$2.73 billion, 49 percent more than in the previous year.
Paddy production for 2004 is estimated at about 25.2 million tonnes, 7.5 percent below the record output in 2003 and 3 percent below the average of the previous five years as a result of drought. Harvest of maize is just completed and an output of 4.23 million tonnes is estimated. This is only marginally changed from last year. 2005 rice export is tentatively forecast at more than 8 million tonnes, reflecting the reduced production.