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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Asian Insider – Thailand’s rice bowl threatened by rise of regional rivals

BANGKOK, Jan 22 (The Straits Times/ANN): In 2022, Thailand’s Hom Mali rice lost its title of the World’s Best Rice to Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol grain, marking an embarrassing defeat for the crop often touted as the pride of the nation.

The Thai grain’s lack of fragrance – a deciding factor in its loss, according to one of the judges – spurred industry leaders to hurriedly launch an investigation into the matter. They ultimately chalked the defeat up to unfavourable weather conditions and inauthentic rice seeds, which diluted the variety’s distinctive aroma.

While the annual contest held at the World Rice Conference is just a friendly competition, the upset for Thailand, which was title winner two years in a row before this, underscores the growing rivalry in South-East Asia, where…

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