Concern about a food crisis has put Thailand at a crossroads, where it must choose whether to be the top global exporter by volume or the market leader in premium grain.
The 2008 food crisis has led to significant developments and expansion in Asia’s rice industry but Thailand, as the leading exporter, has stressed its determination to maintain its leadership position by implementing various measures.
One such measure that Thailand implemented last year was to guarantee farmers’ incomes, and the government remains optimistic about maintaining its export leadership position with expected exports of about 10 million tonnes this year.
The food crisis of 2008 has inspired various countries in Asia to vie for status as the world’s “rice bowl” and many hope to be able to dethrone Thailand.
Among the key members in the region, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Burma, and Cambodia continue to dominate the rice trade, with 21.32 million tonnes of the total global trade of 29.3 million in 2009. Their share is expected to rise to 23.4 million tonnes of the total of 30.84 million this year.