The rice export market is facing fierce competition, especially among exporters in Thailand, Vietnam, and India. To gain market share, Thai rice exporters have been encouraged to adopt blockchain technology, in order to verify the origin of rice and logistics in a transparent manner.
Thailand, as a leader in rice exports for over three decades, is facing problems of falling export volumes to international markets. The Thai Ministry of Commerce revealed that the export of Thai rice in 2018 decreased to 11 million metric tonnes from 11.6 million tonnes the previous year. The Ministry has forecast rice exports for 2019 at only 10 million tonnes. Thai exporters and the private sector have put the estimate even lower at 9 to 9.5 million tonnes, due to external factors.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture has stated that from 2018-2019, the U.S. is Thailand’s second largest rice export market. However, Thailand is at the risk of being replaced by competitors that can offer lower prices for the household staple.
To tackle this issue, Thai rice exporters have been advised to implement new technology in rice exports, such as blockchain. Blockchain offers a distributed ledger that can be used to store data about crop origins, farms, weather, and logistics as a means of increasing transparency and adding value to rice products. In using blockchain, Thai rice may gain an advantage over competitors and earn more trust from consumers in markets worldwide, leading to higher sales.
Thailand should also seek to promote the uniqueness of Thai jasmine rice, while reinforcing its decades-long reputation for high quality. The country must also develop variety and reduce production costs to keep up with competitors.
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