State to sell 2.18m tonnes of rice stock

State to sell 2.18m tonnes of rice stock

The government is selling 2.18 million tonnes of rice stocks directly to domestic rice traders and exporters who have secured purchase orders from foreign countries, while calling for bids on 400,000 tonnes of substandard rice for industrial use.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the state's direct rice sales will include Hom Mali fragrant rice, 5% white rice and broken rice from 139 state warehouses nationwide. This amount would be only for export.

The direct sales proposal was approved recently by the National Rice Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The Foreign Trade Department would invite interested buyers to submit their qualifications on July 21 and file bidding prices on July 25, Mrs Duangporn said. Winners will be announced on July 29.

The Commerce Ministry also plans to announce the terms of reference for the auction of 400,000 tonnes of substandard rice for industrial use on July 6. Interested bidders would be allowed to submit their qualifications on July 21 and bidding prices on July 25.

"The National Rice Policy Committee has realised the current global rice supply is inadequate to meet demand due to the lower production of leading rice producers," she said.

"In addition, Thailand's newly-harvested output is about to enter the market. So we need to step up disposing of existing stocks to prevent any adverse impact on local rice and farmers' income. The rice disposal would also help reduce warehousing costs and boost the country's overall rice exports."

According to Mrs Duangporn, Thai rice is likely to see strong sales in the second half of the year as officials visit various countries to make deals amid expected healthy demand.

Commerce permanent secretary Chutima Bunyapraphasara is scheduled to lead a delegation to Mozambique and Kenya this month to pursue more rice sales in Africa.

In the same month, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn is also scheduled to fly to Singapore to promote rice sales in the city state.

Mrs Apiradi recently said demand for rice is likely to become more active in the period, as Indonesia and the Philippines are expected to demand and import no fewer than 1 million tonnes in the second half.

Iran and Oman have also shown an interest in buying rice from Thailand.

As of June 29, Thailand has shipped 4.8 million tonnes this year, up 9.3%, fetching US$2.15 billion baht, down 2.5% year-on-year.

This year, the government is estimated to ship 9.5 million tonnes.

The government is estimated to control about 9.5 million tonnes in state stocks, a sharp drop from 18.7 million tonnes accumulated through various rice-pledging schemes during 2011-14.

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