Did Nigeria Cause The Collapse Of Rice Mills In Thailand? NOT AT ALL


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, on Friday, said Thailand has accused Nigeria of being responsible for the collapse of its seven rice mills following the drastic fall in rice importation from the country.

According to the minister, the Thailand Ambassador lamented that the collapse of the rice mills has increased the unemployment rate in his country from 1.2 percent to 4 percent.

The two claims by Nigeria’s Agriculture minister has generated reactions from all over the country that even Thailand’s Ambassador to Nigeria, whom the Minister quoted to have made those claims, had refuted the claim and denied ever having such misleading and distortion of truths with the Minister.

As a result Dubawa made several calls to the Ministry of Agriculture requesting the Minister to provide sources for the two claims since the Thai Ambassador had denied making such statement. However the spokesperson, Kayode Oyeleye refused to comment on the subject matter. Nevertheless we decided to independently look at the correctness of the two statements.

THE CLAIMS:

CLAIM 1: Thailand has accused Nigeria of being responsible for the collapse of its seven rice mills following the drastic fall in rice importation from the country.

CLAIM 2: Collapse of the rice mills has increased the unemployment rate in Thailand from 1.2 percent to 4 percent.

VERIFICATION OF CLAIMS

Information was obtained from the Thailand Ambassador, Wattana Kunwongse and other credible statistical organizations with sufficient information.

CLAIM 1: SEVEN RICE MILLS HAVE CLOSED DOWN IN THAILAND ON ACCOUNT OF NIGERIA’S DECREASED IMPORT VALUE

In the letter response by Thailand’s Ambassador to the Premium Times, the Ambassador stated that Thailand’s rice export to the world in 2017 (January – December) reached 11.48million tons which totals 5.106 million USD, a 15.54percent increase compared to previous years. This is one of the highest figures in the history of Thailand’s rice exportation and the document has it that there’s no record of collapse of any rice mill in the country.

THAILAND IS SECOND PRINCIPAL RICE EXPORTING COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

Apart from the response from Thailand’s Embassy, available data also pointed to the fact that the claims by Audu Ogbe are mere fabrications and has no statistical backing. According to statista, a statistics portal which uses more than 22,500 sources to show the statistics of principal rice exporting countries worldwide in 2017/201 as measured in 1,000 metric tons, as of February 2018, rice export of Thailand was projected to amount to some 10.2 million metric tons. This makes it the second principal rice exporting country in the world, with India taking the lead with 12.5 million metric tons.

Going by this data, one would imagine how a country that allegedly lost 7 of its rice mills would remain the second principal rice exporting country in the world with over 10 million tons projected to be exported in February 2018.

Top Rice Exporting Countries in the World (in 1,000 MT) [Credit: Statista]
According to another source, World Atlas, the latest figures of 2016/2017 show that the five principal rice exporting countries in the world are India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the United States in decreasing order of amount of rice exported. The primary variety of rice exported by India is the aromatic Basmati variety. Thailand and Vietnam specialize in the export of the Jasmine variety of rice.

NIGERIA’S RANK LOW ON THAILAND’S RICE EXPORTERS INDEX

Further data on the website for the Thai Rice Exporting Association, a conglomerate of 213 countries exporting rice from Thailand formed in 1918, indicate that the Republic of Benin is the country with highest demand of Thai rice in 2017 with a total export of 1.8 million tons. The statistics further showed that Nigeria only imported 644,131 metric tons of rice in the year 2015; 58,260 in 2016; and 23,192 metric tons in 2015.

As much as the claim of collapse of major rice mills in Thailand is baseless and has been refuted by Thailand Embassy, available data has also nullified the claim thereby making it FALSE.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THAILAND HAS INCREASED FROM 1.2 PERCENT T0 4 PERCENT

The claim that “Unemployment rate in Thailand has increased from 1.2 percent to 4 percent” was attached the fall of rice mills, but since there was no record of any rice mill collapse in Thailand, let’s examine the unemployment rate in Thailand.

Thailand’s Unemployment rate (March – December 2017) [Credit: CEIC]
According to the Global Economy, which is an economic indicator for over 200 countries, the average value for unemployment in Thailand during the period of 1991 to 2017 (26 years) was 1.47 percent with a minimum of 0.6 percent in 2012 and a maximum of 3.4 percent in 1998. This data showed that the highest rate of unemployment in Thailand for a period of 26 years (1991 – 2017) was in 1998, with unemployment rate at merely 3.4 percent.

Thailand’s unemployment rate was also recorded by CEIC to have dropped to 1% in December 2017, from the the previously reported number of 1.1% in November 2017. It read as “Thailand’s unemployment rate is updated monthly, available from Jan 2001 to Dec 2017, with an average of 1.2%.

Also, a forecast by world’s leading economists published on Focus Economics indicated that Thailand’s economy grew at the fastest rate in five years in 2017, closing the year on a strong note despite the slower growth in the final quarter.

Available data has made the claim of an increase in Thailand’s unemployment rate from 1.3% to 4% as FALSE.

CONCLUSION

The claim that seven rice mills collapsed in Thailand following the drastic fall in rice importation from Nigeria remain FALSE as there’s no proven record available of that information. Also, the claim that there has been an increase in unemployment rate in Thailand from 1.2 percent to 4 percent is also FALSE.

Akintunde Babatunde is a program officer with the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism. A dedicated researcher, channeling his skills towards the unveiling of political propaganda and demystifying the secrecy associated with government projects. A diligent and hardworking intellectual, he holds a bachelor’s degree in educational management and mathematics.