The author wrote that Vietnam, the world's second largest rice exporter, this month made a surprising move by starting to import the grain from India. It is importing the cheaper Indian rice to meet domestic demand while saving its own output, which is currently selling at a multi-year high, for the export market.
The Vietnamese rice prices recently have been outperforming those of Thailand, which traditionally attracted a high premium. One reason is that Vietnam has concluded a free trade agreement with the EU, opening the door to the lucrative European market. The recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will also open more markets for higher-priced rice.
Vietnam is in a good position to take advantage of these opportunities, having worked hard to improve the quality and variety of its rice, it said.
Thailand once held the crown as the world's biggest rice exporter but has now slipped to the third place after India and Vietnam. It needs to learn from how Vietnam adapted its trade to fit market developments.
According to the article, Thai rice has been losing popularity in recent years as consumers have shifted to softer rice types. The country risks dropping to fifth place over the next decade if it does not develop a more diverse and competitive long-term rice strategy.
One way Thailand can find its way out of the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 is to build on its advantages as a food-producing country by adding value and improving efficiency, the paper said./.