The Acting Director of Iraq’s Grain Board, General Hassan Ibrahim, has said that Iraq will not buy Thai rice again unless the quality improves. Ibrahim said that he will meet with Thai officials to discuss the issue, although a date for the visit has not yet been established.
Citing complaints about both the quality and the weight of rice sent to Iraq from Thailand, Iraq stopped purchases from Thailand in the second half of 2013, costing Thailand as much as 300,000-400,000 tons in additional sales last year – sales that would have helped alleviate the massive stockpiles of rice the country is currently holding.
Even though US rice and Uruguayan rice is more expensive than Thai rice, the Iraqi market prefers them due to quality, according to local sources.
In 2013, Iraq was the second largest importer of Thai rice, behind Benin, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association. Thailand used to be the world’s largest exporter of rice but has lost that position to India in recent years.