BANGKOK, THAILAND — Rice production in Thailand in the 2023-24 marketing year is forecast to reach its highest level in five years due to abundant rainfall and attractive farm-gate prices, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA projected output at 20.4 million tonnes, up 1% from the previous year’s total of 20.2 million.

It noted that “well above normal precipitation and reservoir levels during the rainy season in 2022 improved conditions for rice planting.”

With farm-gate prices of white and fragrant rice up 18% and 16%, respectively, an increase in planted hectares is anticipated, the USDA said.

With higher anticipated larger exportable rice supplies, the USDA said Thai rice exports in 2023-24 are forecast to increase by 2.5%, to 8 million tonnes.

In the same report, it noted that Thailand’s 2023-24 wheat imports are projected to increase to 2.7 million tonnes.

Growing wheat-based food consumption and feed wheat consumption will push wheat imports 17% higher than in 2022-23, the USDA said, adding that it also “expects 2023-24 milling wheat imports to be 1.3 million tonnes, up 18% from 2022-23.”

“Flour mills are actively importing wheat despite facing high import prices,” the USDA said.

Feed wheat imports are expected to increase by 40% year-on-year to 1.4 million tonnes due to an anticipated recovery in swine production and growing exports demand for poultry meat and products, the USDA said.