WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Flood and drought damage, particularly in the northeastern region of the country, has led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to revise downward its forecast production of rice output in Thailand for the 2018-19 marketing year.

Rice production in 2018-19 is forecast at 20.86 million tonnes, down from an early projection of 21.2 million tonnes, according to an Oct. 26 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report issued by the USDA. Despite the lower forecast, rice production in Thailand still is expected to be higher than the 20.37 million tonnes produced in 2017-18 or the 2016-17 output of 19.2 million tonnes.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative’s Disaster Center reported that around 1 million rai (0.16 million hectares) of rice growing area were affected by flooding or drought,” the USDA noted. “The prolonged floods in the upper northeastern region caused damage of around 0.6 million rai (0.1 million hectares), particularly in the upper northeastern region, which is a major growing area of fragrant rice and glutinous rice. Meanwhile, in the lower northeastern region, a fragrant rice growing area, approximately 0.4 million rai (0.06 million hectares) was affected by drought due to the lack of rain during the rice reproductive stage.”

The USDA said that rice exports in 2018 are expected to be lower than in 2017 due to lower supplies of food quality rice.