Due to recent widespread drought, Thailand’s off-season rice production is expected to yield only 6.7 million tonnes in 2015, a 30 percent decrease from the 9.7 million tonnes last year, reported the Office of Agricultural Economics.

After its main harvest, Thailand continues to grow rice during the dry off-season from November to April. This second growth requires manual irrigation, but the drought across eight provinces has led the government to forbid local water use for rice farming along the length of the Chao Phraya river—the central rice-growing region in Thailand—from October to April. 

Despite the foreseeable poor harvest this year, the country, one of the world’s top three rice exporters, will likely draw on large stockpiles established during the previous government under an initiative that offered farmers rates above the market price for their rice. Thanks to these efforts and bumper output in India and Vietnam, the drought is unlikely to cause any significant impact on global prices. 

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Thailand was expected to surpass Vietnam and India to top the list of world biggest rice exporters in 2014, eclipsing India’s 10 million tonnes with an expected export of 10.2 million tonnes.-VNA