Final edible stock sale okayed
The government has approved the sale of the final edible-grade rice stocks totalling 43,700 tonnes with a value of 534 million baht to nine bidders after postponing the auction for almost a year.
The lots includes 24,000 tonnes of 5% white rice, 7,000 tonnes of 100% hom mali and 6,000 tonnes of provincial fragrant rice. The remaining rice comprises glutinous rice, broken white rice and broken hom mali rice.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, chairing the Rice Policy and Management Committee, approved the sale and selected nine of the 35 bidders.
The winners will sign a contract with the Public Warehouse Organization and the Marketing Organization for Farmers within 15 official working days.
The government disposed of 14.8 million tonnes of the state's rice stocks worth 135 billion baht from May 17, 2017 to April 25, 2018.
Mr Adul said the committee also approved of the department calling an auction for the final lot of human inedible-grade rice stocks totalling 2 million tonnes, including 1.49 million tonnes for animal feed kept at 91 warehouses in 19 provinces. The rice includes 14 varieties, including 100% hom mali rice grade B, provincial fragrant rice, 5% white rice, 15% white rice, 25% white rice, Pathum Thani rice, sticky rice, and broken rice.
It is preparing to disclose the auction details of inedible-grade rice stocks today.
Another auction will be for 540,000 tonnes for energy purposes, comprising 15 rice types such as 100% Thai hom mali rice grade B, 5%, 10% and 25% white rice, Pathum Thani rice, 10% sticky rice and broken rice kept in 80 warehouses in 27 provinces.
Interested bidders will receive the terms of reference today as well, said Mr Adul.
Separately, the Office of Thai Trade Center in Chicago, the US, reported that University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University, two leading research and development centres on US rice varieties and the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation announced the successful invention of new three fragrant rice varieties, including Jasmine Aroma17, Jasmine CLJ01, and Jasmine Calaroma-201.
The development of three fragrant rice varieties may be a competing threat to Thai hom mali rice because lower prices may affect Thai hom mali rice exports.
This is the US's third jasmine rice development, following JAZZMAN rice in 2006 and JES rice in 2009.
The US succeeded in selling JAZZMAN rice to 48 US states and Hong Kong, Vietnam and the Philippines. While JES rice was distributed under the American Jasmine brand, it was not successful.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, said if the US jasmine rice's taste is close to that of Thai hom mali rice, Thailand will have more competitors in the future.
Thailand should speed up to developing Thai hom mali rice varieties to maintain quality and fragrance. The overuse of chemical fertilisers and hastening harvests will result in deteriorated quality.
From January to May 22, Thailand exported 4.276 million tonnes, up 2.64%, worth US$2.182 billion (69.8 trillion baht), up 23.26%, compared with the same period last year.
The main export markets were China, South Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Thailand targets exporting 10 million tonnes this year.
Global rice demand remains strong, with prices for 100% Thai hom mali rice at $1,270 a tonne, up from $1,250 the previous week, and 5% white rice at $450 a tonne.