Thailand exported 2.9 million tonnes of rice for 61,988 billion THB (equivalent to 2 billion USD) in this year’s first half, showing a year-on-year decrease of 8.4 percent.

Chairman of the Thai Rice Exporters Association Chookiat Opaswong said the country is facing great challenges from Vietnamese and Indian competitors, which offer lower export prices than it does.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, this year’s global rice trade would see a cut of 39 million tonnes, or 4 percent less than last year’s figure.

Thailand is estimated to export from 6.5-7 million tonnes of rice while its rice stockpile is around 30 million tonnes.

Since October, 2011, the country has poured 490 billion THB (15.8 billion USD) in purchase of 31.7 million tonnes of rice from local farmers at a price that is 40 percent higher than market price.

The move cost Thailand a loss of 4.4 billion USD in the 2011-2012 crop.-VNA