BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand’s rice crop is anticipated to rebound as the country’s economy bounces back from COVID-19 challenges, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Thailand’s rice production is expected to bounce back in the 2021-22 marketing year with a total of 21 million tonnes after being challenged with drought over the past two years. The USDA expects rice consumption to increase 2% to 3% in 2021 and 2022 in line with the expected recovery in the hotel and restaurant sectors from the COVID-1p outbreak in 2020.

Based on global economic recovery from COVID-19 and larger exportable supplies, Thailand’s rice exports in 2022 are forecast to increase 29% to nine million tonnes.

Thailand’s corn production is anticipated to slip 2% in the 2021-22 marketing year as farmers are more likely to switch to cassava due to a more attractive return. The USDA’s forecast for corn production in the 2020-21 marketing year remains unchanged at 5.6 million tonnes.

Consumption of the commodity is expected to slow with the shrinking domestically produced corn supplies and tighter supplies of imported corn from neighboring countries. In the first seven months of the 2020-21 marketing year, corn exports totaled 9,664 tonnes, down 5% from the same period last year, the USDA noted.

Due to unfavorable climate, limited seed development and unappealing returns, Thailand’s wheat production remains marginal and between 300 tonnes to 400 tonnes. The USDA anticipates 2021-22 marketing year wheat imports to increase to 3.1 million tonnes, up 3% from the previous year due to increased milling and feed wheat imports in line with the expected recovery in 2021 and 2022 from the COVID-19 outbreak.