Thai Rice Industry at Risk

The costs of a possible GE Contamination of Thai rice

Publication - October 12, 2010
Thailand is the largest exporter of rice in the world, and the Thai rice industry is therefore heavily dependent on the perceptions of its export customers. An unintended release of GE rice would disrupt Thailand’s rice grain merchandising system and jeopardise its worldwide reputation as being a premiere rice exporter. Several scenarios are presented in this report that determine the possible economic losses that would occur if GE rice were to be found in Thailand’s rice industry, based on the experience of the US rice industry when contamination occurred there in 2006. These losses would arise from short and long term export losses and testing and segregation of merchandising/processing systems. Adding these economic impacts together, based on the US case, could mean total economic losses and costs totaling as much as 96,327 million Baht (€2,031 million). While this amount takes into account export losses over four years, it is the equivalent of 56% of the value of Thai rice exports in 2009.

Several scenarios are presented in this report that determine the possible economic losses that would occur if GE rice were to be found in Thailand’s rice industry, based on the experience of the US rice industry when contamination occurred there in 2006. These losses would arise from short and long term export losses and testing and segregation of merchandising/processing systems. Adding these economic impacts together, based on the US case, could mean total economic losses and costs totaling as much as 96,327 million Baht (€2,031 million). While this amount takes into account export losses over four years, it is the equivalent of 56% of the value of Thai rice exports in 2009.

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