BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand’s wheat imports for the 2021-22 marketing year are forecast to decline by 6% compared to the previous year due to a slow economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said.

FAS projected wheat imports at 3.1 million tonnes due to reduced demand for milling and feed wheat. High import prices, particularly for feed wheat, have impacted demand, the report said.

Another factor in the decline is that the country’s flour mills still hold large carryover stocks from 2020-21, the report said.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s 2021-22 rice production was revised down slightly from the previous forecast to 20.8 million tonnes. However, that is a 10% increase from the previous year as flood damage in the main rice production region is offset by higher average yields.

The FAS forecasts rice exports to remain unchanged at 5.8 million tonnes, which is 2% higher than the country’s 2020-21 shipments.

“The weakening of the Thai baht against the US dollar and lower Thai rice export prices will likely help increase Thai rice export competitiveness for the rest of 2021 and the first half of 2022,” the FAS said.