Rice stock disposal eyed
The government hopes to dispose of 4.32 million tonnes of state rice stocks by September this year, given rising rice demand.
Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said of the total, the sale of 2.5 million tonnes of mostly low-quality and decaying rice fit only for industrial use, will no longer dampen the prices of newly-harvested rice.
On May 15 the government called the second auction for 1.82 million tonnes of the rice stocks fit for human consumption.
"The state second auction for 1.82 million tonnes of state-held rice fit for human consumption is very active, with 58 of the 59 bidders fully qualified to propose their prices," said Ms Duangporn.
The grains put up for the second auction are of mixed-grade quality. They include Grade C, which is categorised as substandard quality for industrial use; Grade P, which has received ministry certification; and Grades A and B, in slightly poor condition and in need of sorting for improvement. Grade A, B and P are fit for human consumption.
Interested bidders were allowed to inspect the quality of the stocks at state warehouses until May 19 and qualified applicants were disclosed by the department yesterday.
Results are likely due by the first week of June.
According to Ms Duangporn, if the state succeeds in selling the entire 1.82 million tonnes, the state rice stocks will drop sharply to only 2.5 million tonnes, 2 million tonnes of which are slated for animal feeds and 500,000 tonnes for energy production.
The department is scheduled to call the auction for the 2 million tonnes for animal feeds in June, and for the 500,000 tonnes for energy production in July.
"We expect a positive outlook for the prices of newly-harvested rice if we sell the entirety," she said.
Since the May 2014 coup until May 24 this year, a total of 12.7 million tonnes of rice have been sold via auctions, fetching 114 billion baht.