24 July 1997
Fragrant Thai rice tempts price premium
Prices for Thai fragrant rice have been driven up by fierce demand for premium-quality rice. The sweet-smelling variety has recently hit $750 a tonne, as against $600 earlier in the year.
Demand is rising throughout Europe with the UK, in particular, seeing growth of between 8% to 10% over the last five years. Annual global production stands at 550m tonnes, most of which is consumed in the producing countries. Only about 15m tonnes is traded.
Increasing demand and price rises were now inducing Thailand to double fragrant rice yields in the Tung Kula-ronghai area by 2001. Thailand exported more than 5m tonnes of rice last year, 60% of which was high grade or fragrant quality. This is just 4% of Thailands total fragrant rice production. It plans to boost yields from the current 1.59 tonnes a hectare to 5.15 tonnes as well as increase the cultivated area from 64,000 hectares to 240,000 hectares. The area has unpredictable weather which could affect production.