BANGKOK(NNT) – The Ministry of Commerce has joined private firms to create a 5-year plan for rice production enhancement, focusing on the promotion of production efficiency, cost reduction, yield increases, variety improvements, processing and marketing.

The Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, has chaired a Thai Rice Strategy drafting subcommittee meeting, to discuss the 2020-2024 rice strategy, which will adopt the market-led approach to cultivation planning.

The 5-year strategy will focus on both domestic and international markets, aiming to strike a demand and supply balance in the domestic market, while producing more varieties of rice to meet more diverse demands in international markets.

On the cultivation side, the new strategy aims to help farmers cut down manufacturing costs to less than 3,000 baht per 0.16 hectares, which is about half the current average of 6,000 baht. Better farming techniques will be promoted to help increase the yield from the current 460 kilograms of rice grain per 0.16 hectares to 600 kilograms.

By the year 2024, the new strategy should ensure no less than 12 varieties of rice are farmed in Thailand, with the yield no less than 1 ton per 0.16 hectares.

Innovative processing of rice will be promoted to meet market demands, along with updates to regulations to streamline bureaucratic processes for researchers and business owners. These initiatives will come alongside financial support, to provide businesses with better access to capital.

The plan, currently being drafted, will be concluded and submitted to the Rice Policy and Management Committee and the Cabinet for consideration. The plan will be implemented as a guideline, with real world outcomes expected within 5 years.

On the target to reclaim the world’s No.1 rice exporter spot, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand President, Pol Lt Charoen Laothammatas, said it is not necessary for the country to reclaim that position, as it is now more important to find ways to increase yield, improve pricing at farms and prevent an excess of domestic supply, which would push down the price.

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