BANGKOK, THAILAND — Rice production is forecast to increase for the third straight year in Thailand due to abundant precipitation, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Output is expected to top 20 million tonnes in the 2022-23 marketing year, up from last year’s estimated 19.8 million tonnes, the USDA said.

The USDA said main-crop rice planting progress is 2% ahead of last year as farmers began planting white rice in irrigated areas in April. As of Aug. 10, 2.3 million hectares had been planted, covering areas of the northern region and central plains, which account for about 57% of total rice acreage in irrigated areas.

The USDA projects Thailand’s rice export total in 2022-23 to reach 7.5 million tonnes, up 21% compared with last year.

“The depreciation of the Thai baht against the US dollar made Thai rice exports more competitive,” the USDA said.

Thailand typically is ranked among the world’s top five rice exporters.