Thailand Urges Farmers To Plant Less Rice To Save Water

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News in brief: The Thailand government is urging farmers to plant less rice due to low rainfall and water shortages, encouraging the cultivation of crops that require less water. This move could impact the global supply and potentially raise rice prices.

The Thailand government is urging local farmers to plant less rice in a bid to save water, a CNBC report said. The country, which is the second largest exporter of the crop, after India, is battling low rainfall.

Its Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR), which made the call, said the move is to save water for consumption. It encouraged farmers to turn to planting crops that use less water and can be harvested quickly.

According to a statement issued by the secretary-general of the ONWR, Surasri Kidtimonton, the cumulative rainfall in the country is about 40% less than normal, which puts it at high risk of water shortage.

Meanwhile, the move could also see a drop in global supply of the crop, following India’s recent ban on non-basmati rice.

According to Kidtimonton, Thailand’s water management needs to focus on water for consumption and water for cultivation would be mainly for perennial crops.

Experts determine that growing a kilogramme of rice requires an average of 2,500 liters of water. In comparison, crops like millets require between 650 to 1,200 liters of water for the same amount harvested.

They also opine that Thailand’s move has the potential to increase global prices of the crop. Farmers, however, are yet to fully comply with the directive because rice prices are seeing record highs, which they can take advantage of.

Thailand has the fifth-largest amount of land under rice cultivation in the world and is the world’s second largest exporter of rice. Half of the country’s cultivated land is devoted to rice and it is able to harvest three rice crops a year.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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