Hidden world of rice trading | Bangkok Post: learning

Learning > Learning From News (เรียนภาษาอังกฤษจาก ข่าวบางกอกโพสต์)

Hidden world of rice trading

Level switch:
  1. Advanced
- +

Government says secrecy in rice sales to exporters necessary. Critics say secrecy just hides corrupt deals with a handful of big rice exporters. 



Table above shows how Thailand may lose its position as top world rice exporter this year. Read story with more graphics here.

Click button to listen to Untransparent Rice Stockpiles to download

EDITORIAL

Rumours rife over rice sales

26/07/2012

Something fishy seems to be going on in the way the Commerce Ministry is managing the huge rice stocks bought under the populist rice mortgage scheme and now kept at warehouses, mostly privately owned, throughout the country.

Of late, the rice trading community has been abuzz with unconfirmed reports that the ministry has secretly sold a substantial amount of rice from the stockpiles, said to be about 3 million tonnes of milled rice, to some exporters with close connections to the government. Nipon Wongtrangarn, honorary president of the Millers Association, was reported by Post Today as saying that an unspecified amount of rice has been released from the stockpiles and this has pushed down the price of the paddy which is not sold to registered millers.

However, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has categorically denied there have been any secret rice deals, maintaining that no rice in the stockpiles has been sold. He further said that an earlier bid to sell 250,000 tonnes of rice to exporters had been cancelled because the prices offered did not match the preferred level.

But the minister's denial has failed to quell the rumours making the rounds within rice trading circles. The traders themselves may be partly at fault for being too susceptible to rumours. But the ministry's lack of transparency and perceived penchant for secrecy are to blame for the suspicion and mistrust of the ministry. Commerce permanent secretary Yanyong Puangrach reportedly said that information about the amounts of rice or paddy that is stored in the warehouses is confidential and that it cannot be publicly disclosed because the government has to make sure that once the rice is released it will not impact its price.

It is amazing that the information on rice stockpiles is being treated as a trade secret. The entire world already knows that about 17 million tonnes of paddy or 10 million tonnes of milled rice would have been bought under the rice mortgage scheme. The only fact that they and we do not know is how much rice has already been sold under the table and how much money has changed hands that has lined the pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats

The bidding to sell 250,000 tonnes of rice for export which was eventually cancelled has also been a subject of much criticism and suspicion by many potential buyers because the bidders were given very short advance notice resulting in just a handful of them participating. After the cancellation of the bid, it was alleged that some big exporters were asked one by one to see a politician if they were interested in buying through under-the-table deals. 

Since there is a huge gap in the prices of rice bought under the populist scheme (15,000 baht a tonne for ordinary paddy and 20,000 baht for Hom Mali) and the actual market price, any hope of selling the huge rice stockpiles at cost is pure fantasy. If the rice can fetch the market price or a bit lower the ministry will be lucky.

For the time being, there are about 12 million tonnes of rice in the stockpiles, including 2 million tonnes held over from last year. With the new harvests expected in the next few months, there won't be enough warehouse space to store the new purchases unless the existing stocks are sold off quickly.

What is puzzling and incomprehensible is why the ministry is still holding up the rice stocks and not steadily releasing them from the warehouses through open bidding in a transparent manner. In this way, the price would not be suppressed too much and the loss not so prohibitive.

Or as many sceptics suspect, there is something that is not right and not sensible about the way the huge rice stockpiles are being handled by the ministry.

(Source: Bangkok Post, EDITORIAL, Rumours rife over rice sales, 26/07/2012, link)

 
Rice Industry Vocabulary


rumours - a story that passes from person to person so that a lot of people are talking about it (may or may not be true), "a piece of information that circulates and seems to be true but without evidence to prove it is true" ข่าวลือ (See Wikipedia)

rife - have very many; very common or frequent มีอยู่ทั่วไป,แพร่หลาย
rumours rife - there are many rumours

rumours rife over rice sales

quell - to stop something severe from happening ยุติความรุนแรง
quell the rumours

susceptible -
when something has a big effect or influence on you
susceptible to rumours


fishy - suspicious, sounds like it isn't true
going on - happening

something fishy seems to be going on

stocks - large amounts stored for future use
populist - a politician who claims to make policies to help ordinary people and the poor

scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
rice mortgage scheme - the government system of providing farmers with good prices for their rice
warehouses - large buildings to store goods and commodities before they are sold

Something fishy seems to be going on in the way the Commerce Ministry is managing the huge rice stocks bought under the populist rice mortgage scheme and now kept at warehouses, mostly privately owned, throughout the country.

of late - recently

community - 1. all the people who do some activity together and know each other well; 2. the people living in one local area ชุมชน
rice trading community - all the business people and companies who buy and and sell rice

abuzz - lots of people are talking about it ที่กล่าวถึงกันมาก filled with noise and activity เต็มไปด้วยเสียงดังอึกทึก

confirmed -
information proved to be true 
unconfirmed -  information not yet proved to be true (still only a rumour) 
unconfirmed reports

ministry
- a government department dealing with an area of activity กระทรวง

substantial - in a large amount or degree
substantial amount - a large amount

stockpiles
- large amounts of something stored for future use กองสินค้าในโกดัง
milled rice - rice that has been processed in a factory and made ready for sale in bags

unspecified
- not stated clearly or definitely ไม่ระบุให้แน่ชัด
unspecified amount - amount not stated clearly

released
- made available to the public 
released from the stockpiles

paddy
- rice after it has been harvested from the field ข้าวเปลือก

registered
- officially recorded with the government
registered millers

Of late, the rice trading community has been abuzz with unconfirmed reports that the ministry has secretly sold a substantial amount of rice from the stockpiles, said to be about 3 million tonnes of milled rice, to some exporters with close connections to the government. Nipon Wongtrangarn, honorary president of the Millers Association, was reported by Post Today as saying that an unspecified amount of rice has been released from the stockpiles and this has pushed down the price of the paddy which is not sold to registered millers.

denied - said it was not true
categorically denied - said not true at all (in any way)

bid - 1. an offer to buy something at a specific price ยื่นเสนอราคา; 2. an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
bid to sell 250,000 tonnes of rice

match - to be at the same level, look the same as or go together well with something else ซึ่งไม่คู่ควร

preferred - the one that they like more than others ซึ่งชอบมากกว่า
the preferred level

the prices offered did not match the preferred level.

However, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has categorically denied there have been any secret rice deals, maintaining that no rice in the stockpiles has been sold. He further said that an earlier bid to sell 250,000 tonnes of rice to exporters had been cancelled because the prices offered did not match the preferred level.

denial - a statement that something is not true or did not happen คำแถลงการณ์ปฏิเสธ
the minister's denial has failed to quell the rumours

trade - the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
rice trading circles

traders - people who trade securities (stocks, bonds) and derivatives ผู้ค้าหุ้นและหลักทรัพย์

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
transparency - an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing ( visible to the public, no opportunity for secrets , sneakiness, corruption, or cheating) ความโปร่งใส
lack of transparency

perceived - what people feel or believe about a situation (which may not be the same as what is true)
penchant - a tendency to do something a lot

perceived penchant for secrecy

suspicion - not trusting and believing someone or something ความสงสัย ความไม่ไว้วางใจ ไม่น่าเชื่อถือ
mistrust - without trust; a lack of trust; not believing in what they say and do

suspicion
and mistrust of the ministry

confidential - secret private information; often in a formal, business or military situation ที่เป็นความลับ
information about  amounts stored in warehouses is confidential

impact
- an effect or influence ผลกระทบ

But the minister's denial has failed to quell the rumours making the rounds within rice trading circles. The traders themselves may be partly at fault for being too susceptible to rumours. But the ministry's lack of transparency and perceived penchant for secrecy are to blame for the suspicion and mistrust of the ministry. Commerce permanent secretary Yanyong Puangrach reportedly said that information about the amounts of rice or paddy that is stored in the warehouses is confidential and that it cannot be publicly disclosed because the government has to make sure that once the rice is released it will not impact its price.

trade secret - a secret that only certain people in a trade (area of work) know about

under the table -
secret 
changed hands  - to be bought and sold; going from one owner to another

lined the pockets of - corruption; when a politician takes some money from some project
lined the pockets of corrupt politicians

bureaucrats
- government officials, people who work in government departments ข้าราชการ

It is amazing that the information on rice stockpiles is being treated as a trade secret. The entire world already knows that about 17 million tonnes of paddy or 10 million tonnes of milled rice would have been bought under the rice mortgage scheme. The only fact that they and we do not know is how much rice has already been sold under the table and how much money has changed hands that has lined the pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats

bidding - making an offer in an auction (here trying to offer to do project for lowest cost and thus win contract)

eventually
- at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
eventually cancelled

suspicion

potential
- possible ความเป็นไปได้
potential buyers

notice - information or warning หมายเตือ
advance notice -
told about something that will happen in the future

given advance notice
given short advance notice
given very short advance notice

bidders were given very short advance notice

handful
- a small number (could fit in your hand) จำนวนน้อยมาก
just a handful of them participated

alleged
- claimed, but not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา

under-the-table deals - secret deals; hidden deals 

The bidding to sell 250,000 tonnes of rice for export which was eventually cancelled has also been a subject of much criticism and suspicion by many potential buyers because the bidders were given very short advance notice resulting in just a handful of them participating. After the cancellation of the bid, it was alleged that some big exporters were asked one by one to see a politician if they were interested in buying through under-the-table deals

gap - the distance or difference between two things ช่องว่าง
gap in prices - difference in prices
huge gap in prices big difference in prices

populist scheme - a government program that at least looks like it helps the poor and weak

actual
- real; existing in fact จริง
actual market price

fantasy -
something that is pleasant, exciting or unusual that you think about (in your imagination, not in the real world)
pure - not mixed with anything else (having nothing in something to spoil its quality or effect) บริสุทธิ์
pure fantasy

fetch
- to be sold for a particular amount of money ขายในราคาหนึ่ง
fetch the market price - to be sold at the market price for the goods

Since there is a huge gap in the prices of rice bought under the populist scheme (15,000 baht a tonne for ordinary paddy and 20,000 baht for Hom Mali) and the actual market price, any hope of selling the huge rice stockpiles at cost is pure fantasy. If the rice can fetch the market price or a bit lower the ministry will be lucky.

for the time being - for now and until the situation changes
held over from last year - kept since last year (have not yet disposed or got rid of it yet)

expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
new harvests expected in the next few months

warehouse
- a large building for storing things โกดังสินค้า, คลังสินค้า, โรงพัสดุ
warehouse space - area within a warehouse to keep and store things

For the time being, there are about 12 million tonnes of rice in the stockpiles, including 2 million tonnes held over from last year. With the new harvests expected in the next few months, there won't be enough warehouse space to store the new purchases unless the existing stocks are sold off quickly.

puzzling - difficult to understand

comprehensible
- can be understood; possible to understand
incomprehensible - cannot be understood; impossible to understand

open bidding
- offering money to buy something (or a price for doing some government project) in an open way (so that all can see)

transparent
- open, visible; not keeping anything secret; all parts visible to the public; can see what is happening in the activity, no hidden secrets โปร่งใส
manner - way วิธีการ

in a transparent manner - done in a way that the public can see what is happening

What is puzzling and incomprehensible is why the ministry is still holding up the rice stocks and not steadily releasing them from the warehouses through open bidding in a transparent manner. In this way, the price would not be suppressed too much and the loss not so prohibitive.

sceptics
- people who do not believe something (or who question what they read or are told a lot)
suspect - to believe that something is true, especially something bad เป็นที่สงสัยว่า

Or as many sceptics suspect, there is something that is not right and not sensible about the way the huge rice stockpiles are being handled by the ministry.

More on this topic

Bangkok Post online classifieds

Try buying & selling goods and properties 24/7 in our classifieds which has high purchasing power local & expatriate audience from within Thailand and around the world.

0 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments