Thailand is preparing contingency plans to deal with a potential drought that could last years and squeeze global supplies of sugar and rice.
Rainfall across the nation may be as much as 10% below average this monsoon season, and the onset of the El Nino weather pattern could lower precipitation even further over the next two years, according to government officials. Thailand is facing widespread drought conditions from early 2024, authorities have warned.
The dire outlook has prompted Thai authorities to ask farmers to restrict rice planting to a single crop to conserve water, and sugar producers see output falling for the first time in three years. A drought is certain to fuel inflation in the Southeast Asian nation as the cost of vegetables, fresh food and meat get pricier on reduced harvests and more expensive animal feed.