BANGKOK, THAILAND — After being challenged with a two-year drought, Thailand’s rice production is expected to rebound in the 2021-22 marketing year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Favorable weather and adequate water supply boost the USDA’s rice production forecast to 21 million tonnes in the 2021-22 marketing year. Thailand’s rice consumption to increase based on an anticipated tourist increase in 2022 following the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the USDA does expect rice exports may be challenged by uncompetitive Thai rice prices, shipping container shortages and high transportation costs. Thailand’s rice exports totaled 1.13 million tonnes between January 2021 – March 2021, down 23% from the same period last year.

Corn production for the 2021-22 marketing year remains steady at 5.5 million tonnes with good commodity prices and ample water supply keeping the crop attractive.

The USDA increased its corn import estimate for the 2020-21 marketing year to 1.4 million tonnes due to higher-than-expected imports from Burma. Despite the increase, Thailand’s total corn imports in the 2020-21 marketing year are still 7% lower than the previous year due to a domestic bumper crop.

A resurgence of COVID-19 in April 2021 is anticipated to decrease demand for wheat-based food. According to the USDA, Thailand’s wheat imports for the first nine months of the 2020-21 marketing year slipped 10% compared to the same period a year ago to 2.4 million tonnes.