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Thai Rice Production to Focus on Innovation

31 May 2017 (Readers 1255)

The Government aims to reform Thailands rice production to shift from the concept of rice as a commodity product to rice as an innovative product. Speaking at the opening of the Thailand Rice Convention 2017, held in Bangkok on 28-30 May, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha explained that the development of rice into diverse products would enable the Thai rice industry to continue to grow on a sustainable basis.
He said that the Government is promoting and supporting the introduction of new technology and techniques to create rice innovation. This would enhance the competiveness of Thai rice and add higher value than selling rice as a major crop for food production.
The Prime Minister stated that rice could be processed into non-food products, as well. Realizing that Thai rice innovations should be able to respond to the demand of customers at all levels, the Government has a policy to seriously promote innovative businesses and push for the development of innovative farm products on a full-cycle basis.
The National Rice Policy and Management Committee has assigned the Ministry of Commerce to establish an institute to promote innovative agricultural products. The institute will be supervised by the Department of Foreign Trade. Moreover, Thai farmers will be upgraded to "smart farmers. They will learn how to develop products of higher value and to do business. In the next step, they will be further developed as SME farmers.
The Prime Minister said that the Government has set a clear rice policy and strategy to ensure production and marketing stability. This would help develop Thailand as a rice trade leader and help its rice products to be widely recognized internationally. Various guidelines have also been worked out to strengthen farmers, reduce production costs, improve the production quality, and develop rice innovations and standards. The public and private sectors would jointly revise the rice strategy every five years.
Rice has always been the countrys most important crop and it has become one of Thailands major export items. More than four million farm families in Thailand are engaged in rice cultivation. Each year, Thailand produces enough rice for domestic consumption and it exports about 10 million tons of rice on average. Rice exports bring in 150 billion baht in foreign exchange a year.
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