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Country Briefs

  Thailand

Reference Date: 16-December-2020

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Aggregate 2020 rice production forecast at below‑average level

  2. Rice exports in 2020 forecast to contract compared with 2019 level

  3. Prices of rice decreased between May and October 2020, but remain above year‑earlier levels

Aggregate 2020 rice production forecast at below‑average level

Harvesting of the 2020 main (mostly rainfed) paddy crop, accounting for about 70 percent of the annual output, started in October and will finalize next January. The May‑October rainy (monsoon) season was characterized by an erratic temporal and spatial distribution. In the main rice producing areas in the northeastern and northern parts of the country, despite being below average, the cumulative monsoon precipitation amounts exceeded the level of 2019. Improved rainfall, coupled with fewer flood‑related crop losses, is estimated to have facilitated near‑average yields. In the central plains, where most of the paddy is irrigated, low availability of irrigation water, led to a reduction in the area planted. The 2020 secondary (irrigated) crop will be planted from early January and low irrigation water availabilities is likely to constrain planted area to below‑average levels. Overall, the 2020 aggregate paddy output is forecast at 29.4 million tonnes, 4 percent below the five‑year average and slightly above the 2019 level, when prolonged dry weather conditions reduced production of both main and secondary crops.

Harvesting of the 2020 main crop in nearing completion and the output is estimated at an above‑average level, mostly reflecting large plantings, supported by the strong demand from the local feed industry. Weather conditions at critical growing stages were generally favourable and benefitted yields. The 2020 secondary maize crop, for harvest next February, is growing under generally favourable weather conditions. Overall, the aggregate 2020 maize production is forecast at an above‑average level of 4.8 million tonnes.

Rice exports in 2020 forecast well below average

In calendar year 2020, rice exports are forecast at 5.6 million tonnes, 26 percent below the 2019 level.

Prices of rice decreased between May and October 2020, but remain above year‑earlier levels

Domestic prices of rice registered sharp increases between January and April 2020, supported by the reduced output in 2019 and the strong domestic demand at the onset of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Subsequently, prices decreased by around 20 percent between April and October 2020, reflecting adequate market availabilities and muted demand for exports. In November 2020, prices of rice registered small increases and were well above their year‑earlier levels.

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