State seeks to buoy tapioca

State seeks to buoy tapioca

A farmer harvests cassava crop at a plantation in Chachoengsao province.SONTHANAPORN INCHAN
A farmer harvests cassava crop at a plantation in Chachoengsao province.SONTHANAPORN INCHAN

The Commerce Ministry has ordered all tapioca product exporters to increase their stock by 50% in advance in order to prevent cassava prices from falling during the harvesting season.

Duangporn Rodphaya, the director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the authority has issued a regulation stipulating that exporters buy and stock tapioca products at a volume 50% higher than the amount of exports. The stock should be secured one month in advance.

"According to the new regulation, exporters who want to export 10,000 tonnes of tapioca products must stock up 15,000 tonnes of it one month before export," Ms Duangporn said.

The new regulation is intended to help prevent any export disruptions in the coming months, she said. It would also help support farmers, creating demand that prevents cassava prices from falling sharply during the harvesting period, she added.

Ms Duangporn said the Foreign Trade Department, which oversees the exports of major commodities, would assist all exporters and producers in both the stocking and exporting processes.

The department, along with related government agencies, will further keep all cassava and tapioca trade along the border under surveillance in order to prevent cassava smuggling from neighbouring countries, as additional supply weighs on prices.

"That is part of the plan to help stabilise prices during the harvesting season, when high supply normally drags prices down," Ms Duangporn said.

In 2016, Thailand was forecast to have produced 31.1 million tonnes of cassava. The harvesting period normally starts in November, according to the Agricultural Economics Office under the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.

In the first 11 months of last year, Thailand exported 10.1 million tonnes of tapioca products worth US$2.7 billion (96.9 billion baht), down 5.1% and 17.4% in terms of quantity and value, respectively.

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