A Thai farmer harvests rice (Photo: Thai Visa)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai government has recommended farmers not to increase rice production despite rising prices.

Data from the Thai Ministry of Commerce show that prices of Thai rice have risen significantly, especially Hom Mali rice which is now sold at 17,000 THB (543 USD) per tonne – the highest in five year.

The increase in rice prices can be attributed to a lower supply, following recent natural disasters, amid increasing export demand.

The country shipped 1.2 million tonnes of milled rice, up 16.5 percent year on year, worth 578 million USD in January.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA) forecasts the export volume at 9.5 million tonnes of milled rice this year, easing from a record high of 11.6 million tonnes in 2017 due to the strong THB.

TREA President Charoen Laothammatas also attributed the prediction to low rice stockpiles and a decline in the Hom Mali rice output due to unfavourable weather conditions.

The Agriculture Ministry forecasts rice production for the 2018 season at 30 million tonnes of paddy rice or 22-23 million tonnes of milled rice, similar to last season. Milled Hom Mali rice output is forecast at about 7 million tonnes.-VNA