Sticky rice discounts to B35 next week

Sticky rice discounts to B35 next week

A trader shows sticky rice at New Happy Land market on Monday. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A trader shows sticky rice at New Happy Land market on Monday. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The government will discount sticky rice packs to 35 baht per kilogramme late next week to ease consumer burdens following a steep rise in prices.

Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, who on Wednesday met representatives of packaged rice producers, millers and retailers, said in the preliminary stage the ministry will offer about 200,000 to 300,000 glutinous rice packs ranging from 2kg to 5kg.

The rice packages will be offered at 35 baht per kg, which is lower than the market price of 50 baht per kg. The discounted rice will be sold mainly to low-income earners through the state-initiated Thong Fah low-priced shops focusing on the north, the northeast and the central regions.

Purchases will be limited to three packs per person for 2kg packs and two packs per person for 5kg packs.

Mr Whichai said the department is set to offer more discounted rice packs if the amount is insufficient.

“We believe the problem will start easing late next month when the new supply enters the market,” he said.

Mr Whichai warned farmers not to rush growing glutinous rice, noting the market is limited compared with white rice and hom mali fragrant rice.

In a move to tackle rising glutinous rice prices, the government last week ordered millers, traders and exporters to report their stocks.

The department also ordered nationwide inspection of glutinous rice to check hoarding and price gouging.

Millers, traders and exporters who refuse to submit their stock reports or submit inaccurate stocks will be subject to up to five years in jail or a fine of not more than 5,000 baht, or both.

For hoarding or price gouging, perpetrators are subject to seven years of imprisonment, a fine of up to 140,000 baht, or both.

According to Mr Whichai, 660 operators in 57 provinces have report glutinous rice stocks at a combined 42,096 tonnes.

The domestic price of sticky rice rose sharply to 50 baht per kg from 35 baht last month.

The surge was attributed to the widespread drought and lower production over the last two years, as farmers shifted to grow more hom mali fragrant rice as the latter has a higher price.

Thailand normally produces an average of 3.5-3.6 million tonnes of milled rice, with 3.3-3.4 million tonnes for domestic consumption.

Key export markets include China, the US, Malaysia and Japan.

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