Thailand's rice output may grow 16% year-over-year to a record 36 million tonnes in the season from October, as farmers increase production after flooding, Office of Agricultural Economics says

LOS ANGELES , January 19, 2012 () – According to Apichart Jongskul, the secretary-general of Thailand’s Office of Agricultural Economics, Thailand’s rice output may increase 16% year-over-year to a record 36 million tonnes in season from October following increased production after floods, Bloomberg reported Jan. 19.

Jongskul added that the main crop may total 25 million tonnes while the second harvest may be 11 million tonnes.

Following this years’ flooding, annual production may fall to 31.05 million tonnes, less than last year’s production of 34.48 million tonnes, according to Office of Agricultural Economics.

Korbsook Iamsuri, the president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, reported that it was relatively normal for a bumper crop to be produced after flooding, since the farmers increase production in order to compensate for flood-driven losses.

He added that a price support program by the Thailand government in which the government will buy rough rice from farmers above at above-market prices likely also encouraged farmers to increase the amount of land devoted to rice production.

The floods this year were the worst floods to have struck the country since 1942. They damaged 16% of Thailand’s rice farms and cause US$41 billion worth in damage to the economy, according to governmental data.

Following the flooding, the Thai government intends to invest 350 billion baht (US$110.6 million) in building flood defenses.

On Jan. 12, The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that Thailand’s rice exports may fall 33% to 7 million tonnes this year. If accurate, this would be the lowest export level since 2000.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg, New York, New York, on Jan. 19, 2012.

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