Rice pledging hoard cleared
The Commerce Ministry's Foreign Trade Department says it has completed its mission to clear off 16.91 million tonnes of state rice stocks accumulated from government-sponsored rice pledging schemes.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of department, said after four years of unloading the hefty state rice stocks, it has sold the entire stockpile for a total of 146.17 billion baht.
Of the total, 12.2 million tonnes were edible-grade rice for human consumption, with the remainder inedible or low-quality grains.
Mr Adul said apart from successful rice sales, the department also succeeded in saving 93.6 billion baht in expenses for warehouse and management costs.
Over the last few years, the government spent about 1.8 billion baht a month, or about 60 million baht a day, in warehouse costs to store state rice stocks.
"All these expenses were taxpayers' money," he said. The department is scheduled to propose results of the state rice sales to the Finance Ministry's audit committee next week.
The department held the final auction for a combined 267,300 tonnes of rice for animal feed and energy use late last month and sold the entirety.
Since the current government took control, the department has organised 32 rice auctions and sold 25,000 tonnes of rice stocks under government-to-government contracts to Indonesia's State Logistics Agency. In total, the department has sold 16.91 million tonnes worth 146.17 billion baht.
Mr Adul said the department will focus on promoting speciality and coloured rice in the world market and is scheduled to hold roadshows soon in Australia and New Zealand.
The department would also continue beefing up rice sales through government-to-government and government-to-private contracts.
As of Sept 7, 2018, Thailand had exported 7.65 million tonnes, up 0.8% year-on-year, with an export value of US$3.85 billion (127 billion baht), up 17.1%.
Mr Adul recently said the government is upbeat about achieving 11 million tonnes of rice shipments this year, predicting exports of as much as 900,000 tonnes a month for the remainder of 2018.