The government approved in principle yesterday a proposal for the Foreign Trade Department to sell a combined 50,000 tonnes of rice from its massive stock.
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said 20,000 tonnes of Hom Mali rice will be sold to the Public Warehouse Organization (PWO), with another 10,000 tonnes of 5% white rice to be sold to the Marketing Organization for Farmers for sale in a package for the domestic market.
A working panel will be assigned later to negotiate the prices to curb the impact on local rice packers.
Mr Boonsong, who chaired the meeting of a panel that handles the government's rice sales, said it also approved the request of the PWO to buy 20,000 tonnes of Hom Mali to be packaged in 5-kilogramme bags for sale to China at a cost of US$1,100 a tonne.
The panel also approved the sale of about 40,000 tonnes of old paddy from 2003-05 that was left over in government warehouses to be produced as animal feed.
In a related development, Tikhumporn Natvaratat, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said Thai rice exports have started to recover this year.
Shipments in the first two months of this year totalled 1.04 million tonnes, well above the 960,000 tonnes shipped from India and the 750,000 tonnes from Vietnam.
Thailand's average rice export prices for the period stood at $711 a tonne against $688 earned in the same period last year.