Rice shipments from Thailand, the second-biggest exporter, are set to increase as the government reduces the price paid to farmers to rein in spending, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Sales could total 7 million tonnes this year and 8 million tonnes in 2014, said honorary president Chookiat Ophaswongse. His previous forecast for 2013 was 6-6.5 million tonnes. The National Rice Policy Committee Wednesday approved a 20% reduction to 12,000 baht ($388) a ton from 15,000 baht in support prices for the unmilled white variety, said Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom. The decision needs to be endorsed by the cabinet.
Thailand has paid farmers as much as 50% above the domestic market rates since October 2011 to boost incomes. Around 588.7 billion baht has been spent on 27 million tonnes of milled rice, equivalent to 70% of annual global imports. The programme may have lost 136.9 billion baht in 2011-2012, the government estimates.
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