KResearch projects that bright prospects for Thai parboiled rice exports over the remainder of 2013 should rise enough for the export value to reach 1.5-2 million tons this year. Contributing factors include planned collaboration between the government and private sector to release existing inventories.
Future auctions per that plan, coupled with more seasonal orders, e.g., Christmas and New Year holidays, would broaden marketing opportunities for Thai parboiled rice. Key external factors advantageous to Thai rice exports may be the annual dry season in India since they are now one of the main global rice exporters. To capitalize on this opportunity, Thailand should highlight our product quality, delivery strategies as well as more competitive pricing in markets that once responded well to our rice, e.g., African and Mideast countries. Increasing trends toward healthy eating lifestyles should also be beneficial to our exports.
In the coming months, KResearch is of the view that Thai parboiled rice will maintain its reputation for quality. Challenges to Thai rice merchants remain daunting, especially pricing where we are currently at a disadvantage to rival exporters. With our prices adjusted more realistically, we believe that Thai products will regain competitiveness in the world market. Rather than solely depending on shipments to Africa and the Mideast, Thai merchants should also look for new markets abroad such as in the EU, US, Australia and New Zealand. This should be done alongside with domestic market expansion, particularly with an emphasis on health-consciousness to attract those who are increasingly considering parboiled rice as a better alternative.
Moreover, to raise output, the government may consider building more milling facilities with the necessary resources to process parboiled rice. This would be beneficial to merchants in that they could choose the timing of such processing that would be best for each season, all year-round. Amid this difficult time facing the Thai producers and merchants due to falling competitiveness in the world market, international product branding is essential. Apart from India, Pakistan and Vietnam have also risen to become contenders in the parboiled rice trade.