Rice production plays a significant role in the labor force and economy of Thailand. The country features a strong tradition in rice production. Thailand ranks the fifth position in terms of the largest rice cultivator in the world and is second when it comes to rice exports. The country also has plans to widen the rice production land. According to estimates more than half of the cultivated land is allotted for rice.
The rice plantations of Thailand cover about 10 million hectares and the farmer households are estimated to be 3.7 million. Annually, the country produces 30 million tonnes of rice in both dry and wet seasons. The Thailand Rice Department is strict in finding the best seed quality that is acceptable to the rice producers and the people associated with rice production in the country. Through several projects, the Department has been successful in producing and distributing high-quality seeds. The Seed Bank Project, the development and promotion of the Community Rice Center, Seed Producing Villages, creating networks for both producers and distributors of seeds, encouraging them to keep their standards that are mentioned in the Plant Variety Act to make sure that high-quality seeds meet the annual seed demand of the rice producers.
The Rice Department of Thailand visions to become the topper in the research and development of rice production. They also want to improve productivity, offer farmers amazing services, as well as to continuously empower the farmers in the country. Credibility, Integrity, Excellence, and Responsibility are the four major values projected by the Department.
All the above-mentioned core values suggest the way to take action in the future to make the vision a reality. DOA also has plans to improve the research and development of different varieties of rice and the technologies required for the production, breed rice varieties that offer the best yield, encourage modern technology and large-scale rice production, and create a system that can connect producers, consumers, and traders.
Thailand also wants to empower rice farmers in the coming years and wants to concentrate on its goals. The Rice Department of Thailand is creating local technology transfer networks and centers for producing rice, promoting centers for the development and promotion of local farmers, production risk insurance promotion, and research in the field of social and economic aspects of the needs of farmers to build different models for the technology transfer.
Rice is very important to Thai society. Most Thai people find rice a major source of nutrition and food. The yearly consumption of rice in Thailand was about 114.57 kg as per the statistics of 2013. Thailand is also a major exporter of rice. Even though the crop is of high importance in the country, the industry is facing various threats. The increasing competition that is happening in the international market, economic activities that are the cause for the rise in the production cost, the increase in labor cost, the decaying of the ecological systems, etc are some of the major concerns of the country. The research and development in rice production are trying to address all these major challenges.