Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rice Rapture: El Niño’s Dreadful Grip Predicts Million-Ton Catastrophe for Global Producers – Will Thailand Survive This Grain Drain?

Order Cannabis Online Order Cannabis Online

Last week, Chukiat Opaswong, the esteemed Honorary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), revealed a potentially unsettling possibility for global rice producers. Due to the feared El Niño phenomenon, the predicted drought this year and in 2024 has a host of rice-producing nations on high alert.

El Niño, a complex weather pattern resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, is seen as a harbinger of warming phases for the world. It manifests itself roughly every two to seven years and is infamous for leading to decreased rainfall, particularly in Southeast Asia and southern Australia. Such shifts in weather patterns can wreak havoc on the agricultural calendar.

Chukiat cites India’s prudent policy measures, which, according to him, have already made ripples globally, especially concerning white rice prices. There is, it seems, already a $50 per tonne hike, due to perceived impending shortages.

“Currently, most Thai millers are sitting tight, holding their rice reserves, albeit the exporters are unable to determine proper pricing for the international markets,” he voiced his concern. The current scenario is akin to a vacuum for rice exporters, invariably playing the waiting game, anxiously looking at how the global situation pans out.

Chukiat threw light on how Vietnam, buckling under India’s export ban, is selling its white rice at a significantly amplified price of $600 per tonne. This surge marks a stark contrast from the Thai white rice’s price in the global markets prior to July, which hovered slightly above $500 per tonne.

The unpredictability could be further compounded by India’s decision to allocate rice sales on a quota basis to selected countries to preserve their food stability.

“Indonesia and the Philippines have both requested quotas from India for about one million tonnes each,” Chukiat reveals. “If India were to follow through with these sales, Thai exporters would indeed face substantial challenges trying to make their mark in these markets.”

Besides keeping a close watch on India’s policy changes, Chukiat emphasizes that Thai exporters need to monitor weather patterns and adjust their strategies, particularly during the crucial harvesting season in December.

Under normal circumstances, Thailand can yield approximately 20 tons of milled rice annually. Of this, around 12 tonnes are set aside for local consumption, with the remaining 7 to 8 million tonnes dedicated for exports.

“Adding the potential impact forces of El Niño into this mix could lead to a dip in output by 1 to 2 million tonnes,” opines Chukiat. While such a situation would undoubtedly increase the export price of rice, a complete halt on exports owing to domestic shortages is highly unlikely for a nation such as Thailand.

The TREA has set its sights on exporting 8 million tonnes in 2023 and has half-achieved its goal in the first six months, which stands as a testament to their tenacity considering the current climate condition.

“A less-than-smooth journey may be on the horizon for rice exports in this year’s second half,” anticipates Chukiat. Through vigilant monitoring of the unfolding situation, the TREA will strategize its next steps over the coming 1 to 2 months, he concludes.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from ThailandMore posts in Thailand »