Soldiers and farmers harvest rice in Kalasin province, Nov. 12, 2016.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The Thai Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday said it expects Thailand to only export 7.5 million tons of rice this year, a drop below the target of 10 million tons for the second straight year.

The ministry’s Foreign Trade Department factored the drop in exports to the strong Thai baht currency, decreasing competitiveness and low supply because of a widespread drought.

Among the exported rice, “3.17 million tons of the total export will be white rice, shipped primarily to the Philippines, Angola, Benin, Cameroon and China, with parboiled rice making up 2.23 million tons and Thai jasmine rice at 1.1 million tons,” said Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the department, “the remaining tons will be glutinous rice and other types of grains.”


Keerati also said that the export value is estimated at 131 billion baht (4.2 billion U.S. dollars) this year.


“Thailand lacks diversity in rice varieties to compete in the world market,” said Keerati, “and so the Thai government has now set up a panel that includes representatives from the Rice Department, the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the Thai Rice Millers Association and farmers to develop soft-textured rice varieties to target global market.”

He said customers’ tastes have changed and now mostly favor soft-textured grains with jasmine flavors.