Prolonged protests may affect exports of Thai Hom Mali rice to Hong Kong

Worried Thai rice exporters are closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, fearing that the protests by pro-democracy demonstrators will affect exports of Hom Mali fragrant rice to the city if the protests are prolonged.

The Thai Rice Exporters Association’s honorary chairman, Mr. Chukiart Opaswong, said that Hong Kong remains an important export market for Thai Hom Mali grains, although the market share of the Thai rice has now dropped to only 52%, valued at between 30-40 billion baht, compared to 90% market share 7-8 years ago.

Vietnam now commands about a 30% market share, being ranked in the second place after Thailand, followed by Cambodia and China.

Mr. Chukiart attributed the sharp drop in market share to Thai Hom Mali’s high price, about US$1,200 per tonne, compared to Vietnam’s US$500-550 per tonne.

With a population of seven million, plus about 40 million tourist arrivals each year, he said Thai Hom Mali rice is popular among people in Hong Kong, who have high purchasing power, but he was concerned that, if the protests are further prolonged, the economy of Hong Kong would be hard hit and this would affect Thai rice exports to the city.

To cope with the situation, Mr. Chukiart said that Thai rice exporters might have to look to other markets with high purchasing power, such as the United States and Canada.

Meanwhile, Mr. Witthayakorn Maneenate, deputy director-general of Thailand’s International Trade Promotion Department, said that Thailand’s International Trade Office in Hong Kong will hold a promotional campaign, for Thai Hom Mali and organic rice, in Hong Kong’s leading shopping malls such as 759 Store and Test.

Thai organic rice is currently priced at between HK$1,400-1,500 per tonne.



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