Thailand is now running shortage of jasmine rice as latest survey in 23 rice cultivation provinces in the North and Northeast showed rice production is over two million tons below target.
The survey was conducted by the Department of Rice and the Thai Rice Miller’s Association in 20 northeastern provinces and three northern provinces since November last year.
Rice millers association president Hasdin Suwatanapongches disclosed yesterday that the survey showed jasmine rice production fell to 7.1 million tons, or lower than what the Ministry of Agriculture has earlier projected at 9.9 million tons.
The production shortfall has raised fear of jasmine rice shortage this year, and of inevitable rising prices.
He estimated jasmine rice to go over 17,000 baht per ton this year from just 10,000 baht last year.
This shortfall will certainly affect domestic consumption and exports, he said.
From the official statistics, jasmine rice will rise to the highest in six years since 2012.
In the 2011/2012 production year, jasmine rice was 15,365 baht per ton, but now it rose to 16,500-17,500 baht per ton this year.
Bag Rice Association president Somkiat Makayathorn attributed the jasmine rice shortfall to massive floodings and weather conditions but said this would benefit farmers in term of gaining higher prices for their rice.
He said jasmine rice skyrocketed 30% from 21-22 baht a kilo to 33-34 baht forcing bag rice operators to adjust prices gradually now.
As bag rice does not come under government’s price control, jasmine rice rose from 150-170 baht for a 5-kg bag to 180-200 baht now.
However white rice prices did not change much and remained same prices as last year, or 12 baht per kilo, he said.
He expected the bag rice market this year to be around 25 billion baht.
White rice is consumed by 55% of Thai population, while 45% eat jasmine rice.