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El Nino effect could reduce rice output by 6% this year

The effects of the El Nio weather phenomena may cause Thailand’s rice production to decrease this year by as much as 6%, reaching between 25.1 and 25.6 million tonnes, predicts the Kasikorn Research Centre (KRC).

When combined with the approximately 7.6 million tonnes from the second crop, KRC estimates that this year’s total production of rice will be between 32.7 and 33.2 million tonnes, which will be sufficient for both local consumption and exports, which are anticipated to increase from previous year.

It cautions that if the drought persists and causes more damage to the crops, the expected rice harvest may be significantly lower.

KRC urged the agencies concerned to immediately adjust their water management plans in order to ensure that there is enough water for cultivation and other uses. KRC warned that the El Nio phenomenon this year, if it is further prolonged, will cause a substantial drop in water levels in many reservoirs, which will have an impact on both main and second-crop cultivation next year.

The Royal Irrigation Department is advising farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin to halt the planting of second crops in the meantime.

Despite the potential for a water deficit, many farmers still want to grow their second crop, according to KRC, because of the attractive export price and widespread demand for Thai rice.

According to the department, the 2022–23 water management plan resulted in the release of approximately 19,600,000 m3 of water, including roughly 7,000,000 m3 for the Chao Phraya river basin alone, into approximately 1.59 million hectares of rice fields.

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