BANGKOK, THAILAND — The La Niña weather phenomenon will provide plentiful precipitation and water supplies for rice farmers in Thailand, yielding 20 million tonnes of rice in marketing year 2022-23, a 2% increase over 2021-22, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

USDA’s FAS Bangkok Post is forecasting rice exports in 2022 at 8 million tonnes, up 31% from 6.1 million tonnes in 2021, due to larger exporter supplies. 

“The weakening of the Thai baht has made Thai rice export prices attractive and competitive,” FAS said. “Traders anticipate increased demand for Thai rice for the remainder of 2022 as current prices for Thai rice are competitive to other exporting countries.”

Wheat imports for 2022-23 have been revised down to 2.7 million tonnes, as milling wheat demand has decreased more than growing demand for feed wheat. Despite the reduction, 2022-23 wheat imports are still 8% higher than 2021-22. 

FAS revised down milling wheat imports to 1.1 million tonnes, unchanged from the previous year despite an expected increase in the number of foreign tourists. 

“Flour mills are cautious in building up inventories of milling wheat and flour due to concerns about high import prices of milling wheat,” FAS said. “In addition, bakeries have slowed production of bakery goods due to a 20% increase in production costs.” 

FAS expects that imports of feed wheat will increase to 1.6 million tonnes, up 14% from the previous year. Traders are expecting strong demand for poultry exports in line with the economic recovery, which will lead to an increased demand for feed wheat and other feed ingredients in poultry production.

In addition, the government of Thailand announced the temporary removal of import restrictions on feed wheat between May 10 and July 31, 2022, which could increase demand for feed wheat imports.

The FAS forecast for 2021-22 corn production remains unchanged at 5.3 million tonnes, down 4% 2020-21 due to reduced off-season corn acreage. The forecast for 2021-22 corn imports remains unchanged at 1.5 million tonnes, down 22% from 2020-21. Local feed mills are likely to use locally produced corn and broken rice for feed production.