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17 May 2023


The Royal Ploughing Day marks the start of the rainy season and in-season rice cultivation, but El Nino during 2H23 may dent 2023 in-season rice output by 4.1-6.0% (Current Issue No.3410 Full Ed.)


        The Royal Ploughing Day marks the beginning of the rainy season and in-season rice cultivation in Thailand. Elevated rice prices have induced most farmers to grow this staple despite the rising production costs. However, a high chance that El Niño will develop in 2H23 when rice plants require more water following their cultivation in May will likely hurt the in-season rice output. If the impacts of El Niño are moderate, it is expected that the in-season rice output in 2023 will decline by roughly 4.1-6.0 percent or 25.1-25.6 million tons. If the 7.6 million tons of off-season rice output are added to that figure, the total rice output in 2023 will likely be sufficient for domestic consumption and exports, which are projected to increase over that reported in 2022. Nevertheless, if there is severe drought or intermittent rain, the in-season rice output may decline substantially, thus Thailand’s total rice production may be lower than our prior estimate.
        Looking into 2024, due to the impacts of El Niño, it is expected that the amount of water accumulated in dams since the end of 2023 for the cultivation of 2024 off-season rice will decline. Moreover, as El Niño is projected to persist, Thailand’s total rice output may fall further. Therefore, water management planning is urgently needed amid the potential shortage of water for agricultural purposes in the future.

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