“We estimate that China will soon have only 50 million tonnes of tapioca chips left in stock and would import more from Thailand,” he said. “This should help drive the price of fresh tapioca from the current under Bt2 per kg to Bt2.5 per kg.”
Boonchai added that the reason behind this was the rising price of corn for animal feed, as China has been using tapioca chips for manufacturing alcohol. “Now that corn is becoming more expensive, it should be a great chance for tapioca farmers to penetrate the Chinese market,” he added.
The association said that export of tapioca chips within the past year was only 2.9 million tonnes, while in the past exports used to average around 7 million tonnes.
“Thai tapioca farmers have suffered from such factors as mosaic disease and drought problem earlier this year, which could result in lower output compared to last year,” added Boonchai.
“Next week the association and related partners from both public and private sectors will survey the plantation areas of tapioca nationwide to estimate total output for 2020, which in our estimates might not exceed 30 million tonnes.”
Meanwhile, the Office of Agricultural Economics reported that in crop year 2020-21, Thailand’s tapioca plantation area was 8.844 million rai (1.415 hectares), a 1.2 per cent increase from the previous year with estimated total output at 29.9 million tonnes, up 4.83 per cent year on year. The average output per plantation area is at 3,382 kilogram per rai, a 3.58 per cent increase year on year.
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