WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Higher-than-expected flooding damage to fragrant rice has led to a lowering in forecast 2017-18 rice production in Thailand, according to a Nov. 27 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN)reportfrom the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, higher average yields still have rice production in 2017-18 on pace to best output in 2016-17, the agency said.

“The revised forecast for MY 2017-18 main crop rice production is 6% higher than MY 2016-17 main crop rice production as yield improvements more than offset production losses from flooding, particularly in the northeastern region,” the USDA noted in the GAIN report. “Fragrant paddy rice production is revised down slightly to 6.7 million tonnes due to flooding damage, which is still 2% above MY 2016-17 fragrant paddy rice production as yields increased 20% to 30% in upland areas. Meanwhile, glutinous paddy rice production increased to 5.3 million tonnes, up 2% from MY 2016-17, largely from increased acreage, particularly in the upper northeastern region due to attractive prices. White paddy rice production is expected to increase to 8 million to 9 million tonnes, up 10% to 15% from MY 2016-17 due to a recovery in acreage from the previous year when the government did not provide irrigation supplies for MY 2016-17 main crop rice cultivation.”

As of early November, approximately 70% to 80% of Thailand’s 2017-18 marketing year main crop rice production had been harvested, the USDA said.

Thailand’s rice exports are forecast to reach 11 million tonnes in 2017-18, after exports during the January – October 2017 period stood at 9.2 million tonnes. The 10-month total was up 20% from the same period in 2016, due primarily to an increase in parboiled rice exports to Africa and the Middle East, the USDA said.

“Exports of parboiled rice totaled 2.6 million tonnes during this time period,” the USDA noted. “This is a 52% increase from the same period last year due to the recovery of MY 2016-17 offseason white rice production. White rice exports also increased largely due to the sale of government stocks. Since January 2017, the government has sold 3.2 million tonnes of food quality rice stocks, emptying government stocks of food quality rice. Export prices of old-crop white rice from government stocks are 2% to 4% cheaper than new-crop white rice.”