The Indian government approved the unlimited exports of white and parboiled rice for 2012, after their most recent exports of totaled 2 million tons – per quota – at the end of 2011. This has largely affected the rice market as well as dampening rice prices globally, thus affecting Thailand' s rice market shares, particularly for parboiled rice exports to Africa and Bangladesh. Consequently, Thailand and Vietnam, nominally the largest and second largest exporters, had to cut prices to remain competitive.
As a result, adjustments by Thai exporters will be needed to brace for a changing rice market environment. Also, they should urgently expand the market for special rice products, e.g., healthy rice, such as brown, organic and fortified rice (infused with vitamins and/or herbs) that are our strength. Despite limitations to this market, such as the lower number of consumers, and special needs toward quality control and PR programs to increase consumer's confidence, these special products have experienced relatively high growth due to its quality. In addition, exporters should focus on high-end and health-conscious consumer segment, place emphasis on packaged rice domestically, as well as increasing output to market which should help strengthen our position in both domestic and export markets.