Thailand lost its three-decades-old title as the world's top rice exporter last year, falling behind India and Vietnam, industry sources said Friday.
Vietnam on Thursday announced that its rice exports for 2012 reached 7.6 million tons, up 10 per cent year-on-year. India's rice exports last year exceeded 9.5 million tons, according to US Department of Agriculture figures.
Thailand exported 6.9 million in 2012, down 35.5 per cent from the 10.7 million tonnes it shipped in 2011, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association's and commerce ministry's latest figures.
Of the 6.9 million tons, some 1.7 million were registered as government-to-government deals, which the private-sector association has questioned.
"The only government-to-government deal we saw evidence of was a 300,000 shipment to Indonesia in early 2012," said Chookiat Phaswongse, the association's honorary president. "The other deals are still a mystery to us since we've seen no records of them." The exporters association blamed the country's drop in exports on the government's so-called paddy pledging scheme, under which it has agreed to buy unhusked white rice from farmers at a fixed price of Bt15,000 (484 dollars) per tonne and high-quality jasmine at Bt20,000 per ton.//DPA