NOTE: Thai rice exports should continue to do extremely well out of being GM free, given the Rabobank prediction* that US rice acreage will decline as a result of the contamination scandal and consequent loss of market share. GM crop trials, anyone?
Rice exports could hit 8.8 mln tonnes
Bangkok Post, 12 May 2007
DPA - Natural calamities elsewhere in Asia and a GMO scandal rice in the US and Australia could push Thailand's rice exports up to 8.8 million tons this year, up from 7.4 million tons in 2006, industry sources said Saturday.
Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines are not expected to reach their rice production targets this year because of natural disasters, said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Rice Exporters Association.
Meanwhile rice production in the US and Australia is decreasing this year due to reports of discovereries of GMO-strains of the grain there, resulting in import bans in some markets such as Europe.
That's all good news for Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter, that is expected to ship between 8.5. to 8.8 tons this year, Chookiat told a seminar on the world outlook for the rice trade.
While China is now the biggest importer of Thai rice, Chookiat expects Indonesia to become a major market in 2007 because of declining production in the archipelago nation.
The world's top five rice exporters are Thailand, Vietnem, India, US, and Pakistan, in that order.
Vietnam's rice exports during the first four months of 2007 reached 1.3 million tons, worth 400 million dollars, a 18.8 per cent decrease in volume and 7.0 per cent decrease in value, said Huynh Minh Hue, Deputy Secretary General of Vietnam Food Association.
Hue blamed the declines on limited supply, delays in the winter- spring crop harvest and difficulty in contracting vessels.