It appears that farmers in Thailand are illegally growing Vietnamese strains of rice because they are cheaper, easier to cultivate, and have a similar texture to Thai rice. This trend is posing a problem for Thailand’s rice industry, which is known for its premium quality and authenticity, as it could call into question the branding strategy for Thai rice exports. Vietnam’s rice growing in Thailand is believed to be Jasmine 85, which is ready for harvest just 90 days after planting, making it easier for farmers to grow crops several times a year. In contrast, Thai rice strains are more difficult to grow and may not be able to meet the market’s demand at the right prices. The influx of Vietnamese strains is also contributing to the competition between Thailand and Vietnam for second place in the global rice export market.
The situation in Thailand’s rice industry is concerning because it could threaten the country’s reputation as a top exporter of premium quality rice. Thailand has strict regulations in place to protect the authenticity of its rice, including the Plant Varieties Protection Act, which bars the import of major commodity strains into the country. However, farmers are ignoring these legal restrictions and secretly switching to Vietnamese strains of rice, which are nearly indistinguishable from Thai strains in the field. This means that it is difficult to determine the authenticity of the rice being grown in Thailand, which could undermine the country’s branding strategy for its rice exports.
The popularity of Vietnamese rice among Thai farmers is due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of cultivation. Vietnamese rice is believed to be Jasmine 85, which is ready for harvest just 90 days after planting, making it possible for farmers to grow multiple crops in a year. In contrast, Thai rice strains, such as Home Mali, are more difficult to grow and may not be able to meet market demand at competitive prices.
The influx of Vietnamese rice in Thailand is adding to the competition between the two countries in the global rice export market. Thailand has traditionally been a major player in the industry, ranking as the world’s biggest rice exporter for more than three decades. However, in recent years, India has overtaken Thailand as the top exporter, with an estimated 22 million tonnes shipped in 2022. Thailand and Vietnam are now vying for second place, with each exporting between 7 million and 7.5 million tonnes. If Thailand’s rice industry is unable to develop new strains to meet the demands of the global market and maintain its reputation for premium quality, it may struggle to compete with Vietnam and other countries.