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Thailand, Vietnam expected to raise rice prices

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Thailand and Vietnam are taking steps to raise their rice prices in the global market as production costs have soared.

The Thai government said it has reached an understanding with the Vietnamese government on this matter and they will work at coming up with mechanisms to achieve this.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Thai Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalerm­chai Sri-on said both nations reached an understanding on the matter during recent talks between the two countries on rice export prices.

He said both countries have agreed to immediately set up special teams to look into this issue.

The minister’s adviser Alongkorn Ponlaboot has been appointed head of Thailand’s price negotiation team and the ministry will soon meet farmers’ associations, millers, exporters and other concerned groups.

The minister said details of the Thai-Vietnamese rice price agreement will be discussed with the stakeholders so that all parties knew what needed to be done to achieve the higher prices.

“The agreement is the first step taken in cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam to help rice farmers gain fairer export prices using the pricing mechanism in the global market,” Chalermchai said.

He pointed out that rice farmers have widely been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, but rice prices in the global market have only changed slightly.

Vietnam and Thailand are the second and third largest rice exporters in the world, after India.

Last year, India exported 19.55 million tonnes of rice, while Vietnam and Thailand exported 6.24 and 6.12 million tonnes, respectively.

Alongkorn said Thailand was targeting to export seven million tonnes of rice this year, with almost four million tonnes being exported in the first seven of the year. This is almost a 60 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.

Despite the higher volume, he said it only yielded an increase of 34.1 per cent in export value.

Vietnam’s rice exports are also expected to rise further and is expected to hit 6.5 million tonnes this year from 6.24 million tonnes last year due to strong demand.

Vietnam Food Association chairman Nguyen Ngoc Nam had said exports have risen strongly this year and expected to see it continue for the rest of the year.

Vietnam exported 4.7 million tonnes of rice in the first eight months of the year, a 19 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

Alongkorn said rice farmers would no longer be able to cope with unfair rice prices in the global market if they were left alone without help and cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Post reports Thai Agriculturist Association president Pramot Charoensin saying the production cost of rice in Thailand has almost doubled to between 7,500 baht and 8,000 baht per tonne of rice, from only between 4,500 baht and 5,000 baht per tonne two years ago.

He said farmers needed help from the government to lower production costs and get fairer prices for their rice.

He noted that Vietnam was in a better situation than Thailand as labour costs there were lower.

Vietnam’s production cost is about US$100 (about 3,600 baht) lower per tonne of rice produced than Thailand’s, he said.

Vietnamese rice export prices are also expected to rise during the coming months due to rising costs and bad weather conditions in several rice-growing countries.

 New Straits Times (.my) – September 5, 2022 

Thailand, Vietnam expected to raise rice prices
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