Thai govt to consider release of more stockpiled rice

A Thai farmer works on her rice field in Nakhonsawan province

As rice farmers enter the end of the second-crop harvest, the government will soon consider reopening bidding for rice from its stockpiles - before the year's main harvest season begins in late August.

The plan to release more rice from the stockpiles is part of the government's goal to shift a total of 10 million tonnes from its warehouses over the course of this year.

The warehouses currently hold about 16 million tonnes.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday that after suspending the release of rice for the past few months, it was now time to reconsider further sales due to lower supply in the market.

"The Rice Policy Management Committee will next Monday consider whether to open the third round of rice bidding for this year. The government will carefully consider the impact on rice prices in the market, and will also consider other factors such as demand, and rice supplies by other countries," she explained.

Duangporn added that despite slowly releasing rice from the stockpiles, the government was maintaining its target for releasing 10 million tonnes of the crop this year.

The department is also sticking to its forecast of pushing exports to 10 million tonnes this year, although exporters foresee lower shipments of between 8 million and 8.5 million tonnes.

In the first four months of the year, Thailand exported about 3.3 million tonnes of rice, against 3.8 million tonnes in the same period last year.

The department chief said that despite lower export volume so far this year, the emphasis was on shipping high-quality rice, including parboiled rice and jasmine rice, overseas sales of which had risen 6 per cent year on year in the period.

To promote Thailand as supplier of the world's best-quality rice to the world market, the Commerce Ministry has organised the "Thailand Rice Convention 2015" next week under the theme "Think rice think Thailand…serving the best quality rice to the world".

Duangporn said the government would focus on increasing the value of Thai rice, which would enable the world market to recognise the Kingdom as not only a major supplier, but also as a supplier of good-quality rice.

Thailand's efforts will also help increase food security in the world market, as it offers a full variety of rice grains to consumers anytime, anywhere and in any amount, she added.

The convention, which takes place from May 19-21 at Impact Muang Thong Thani's Hall 4, will be chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, while many experts in the rice industry will participate in the seminar.

The convention is expected to attract more than 500 participants from 40 countries for an exchange of knowledge and views on rice and rice trading.

International rice traders, millers and farmers will be among those attending.