The main and urgent task of newly appointed Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan is to try to unload as much and as quickly as possible the 18 million tonnes of unsold rice stockpiled in warehouses throughout the country through government-to-government and private deals.
The minister's objectives are two-fold. The first is to get the much-needed cash to replenish the fast-depleting coffers of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives so it will be able to carry on with the rice-pledging scheme for at least another year.
The second is to ease the pressure on packed warehouses so there will be space available to keep the new paddy that will be bought under the scheme.
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