The Commerce Ministry plans to sell 600,000 tonnes of newly harvested Hom Mali rice along with 500,000 tonnes of white rice in the next few months.
The bids to sell these grains, all fresh from the 2012-13 season, will be called for at some point between next month and February, said Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.
Sales for Hom Mali rice will break down to 200,000 tonnes a month, he said.
Eligible bidders are those exporters that have already acquired rice-buying orders from abroad and have a partnership with rice millers taking part in the state's pledging scheme.
Such bidding conditions were in fact proposed by the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), which wants exporters to match with rice millers and speedily ship premium-grade fragrant rice in order to avoid quality deterioration.
It will also help cut the state's storage expenses.
Mr Boonsong estimates the method could save the government 570 million baht.
A meeting with the TREA to inform it of the new bidding conditions will be called next week.
"The bid conditions have been adjusted to meet the demand of consumers in Hong Kong, Singapore and China, who prefer new-crop Hom Mali rice," said Mr Boonsong.
In addition, the Rice Sales Committee chaired by Mr Boonsong yesterday agreed to call for bids to sell 500,000 tonnes of white rice from the 2011-12 season.
The calls are to be carried out in the next two months after the committee decides the bidding criteria.
The rice pledging scheme pays for paddy at above-market prices - 15,000 baht a tonne for white rice and 20,000 baht for Hom Mali.
This results in large local stockpiles, as Thai rice cannot compete with rivals India and Vietnam in the global market.
But Mr Boonsong said that in September, 1 million tonnes were sold locally and 7.32 million tonnes sold under government-to-government (G-to-G) deals with four countries.
He declined to give further details.
TREA president Korbsook Iamsuri said some 30 members are keen to buy Hom Mali rice from the ministry.
If the conditions are clearer, demand is expected to increase, but the bidding process must be carried out quickly to get good prices on fresher grain, she said.
As of this past Monday, Thailand has exported 4.4 million tonnes rice this year, down by 43% from the same period last year. The figure does not include G-to-G shipments, which could bring the total to 6 million tonnes.
About the author
- Writer: Phusadee Arunmas
Position: Business Reporter