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Thai jasmine rice harvest set for first decline in a decade

Prices of premium agricultural export surge, helped by strong baht

Farmer transplanting rice in a field near Khon Kaen, northeastern Thailand.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's production of premium rice has fallen this year for the first time since the country began growing the crop more extensively a decade ago in an effort to shift agriculture to more value-added export products.

Premium-grade white rice -- a long-grain, fragrant variety called hom mali, or jasmine rice -- is normally sold to upscale restaurants in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as well as some Thai restaurants in Europe.

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