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Rice production in thailand

The meaning of «rice production in thailand»

Rice production in Thailand represents a significant portion of the Thai economy and labor force.[1] In 2017, the value of all Thai rice traded was 174.5 billion baht, about 12.9% of all farm production.[2] Of the 40% of Thais who work in agriculture, 16 million of them are rice farmers by one estimate.[3][4]

Thailand has a strong tradition of rice production. It has the fifth-largest amount of land under rice cultivation in the world and is the world's second largest exporter of rice.[5] Thailand has plans to further increase the land available for rice production, with a goal of adding 500,000 hectares (1,200,000 acres) to its already 9.2 million hectares (23 million acres) of rice-growing areas.[6][7] Fully half of Thailand's cultivated land is devoted to rice.[8]

The Thai Ministry of Agriculture projects paddy production for both the main and second crops to hit 27–28 million metric tons (30–31 million short tons) in the 2019–2020 season, dragged down by a drop in second crop production due to floods and drought.[9] Jasmine rice (Thai: ข้าวหอมมะลิ; RTGS: khao hom mali), a higher quality type of rice, is the rice strain most produced in Thailand although in Thailand it is thought that only Surin, Buriram, and Sisaket Provinces can produce high quality hom mali.[10] Jasmine has a significantly lower crop yield than other types of rice, but normally fetches more than double the price of other cultivars on the global market.[6]

Due to ongoing droughts, the USDA has forecast output will drop by more than a fifth to 15.8 million metric tons (17.4 million short tons) in 2016. Thailand can harvest three rice crops a year, but due to water shortages the government is urging a move to less water-dependent crops or forgoing one crop.[11] Rice is water intensive: one calculation says rice requires 1,500 cubic metres (400,000 US gal) of water per cultivated rai.[12]

Until the 1960s, rice planting in Thailand consisted mainly of peasants farming small areas and producing modest amounts of rice. The Chao Phraya River delta was the hub of rice production.[13] Agriculture constituted a large portion of the total production of Thailand and most Thais worked on farms. The extreme focus on agriculture arose for two main reasons: the vast amount of land available for farming and the government's policies of clearing land and protecting peasants' rights. The government helped peasants gain access to land and protected them from aristocratic landlords.[13]

Due to the government's stance, urban merchants were unable to gain much control over the Thai rice industry. The government concerned itself with protecting farmers and not with overall production. As a result, Thailand was relatively self-sufficient, resistant to government intervention, and egalitarian. Most rice farmers owned their own land and exchanged labor between farmers was common. Rice production normally was not much more than the farmers needed to survive on.[13]

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