The government expects the event International Rice and Rice Products Business Matching 2018, held on Thursday in Bangkok, to result in rice purchases worth up to 30 billion baht within a year.
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said some 1.5 billion baht worth of rice purchases are estimated to have been settled between Thai entrepreneurs and foreign buyers at the event.
Held by the International Trade Promotion Department, the event creates a sourcing platform to connect Thai exporters of rice and rice products with international buyers. Both food and non-food products made from rice such as cosmetics, beauty and health products are showcased at the event.
There were 160 foreign buyers from 28 countries and 170 Thai entrepreneurs attending the matching event.
"The rice expo is also a public-private partnership to boost Thai rice exports, as the new harvest is about to enter the market," Mr Sontirat said. "This will help raise rice prices and enable Thailand's overall rice exports to meet the government's target of 11 million tonnes this year."
He said four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed at the event for 93,000 tonnes of rice purchases by foreign importers and Thai entrepreneurs. They include an MoU between 759 Store, a Hong Kong chain store that sells groceries and snacks with 224 branches throughout Hong Kong, and Siam Diamond Export Rice to buy 10,000 tonnes of hom mali fragrant rice, and between 759 Store and Global Rice Intertrade to buy 4,000 tonnes of Pathum Thani fragrant rice.
Everflowing Fortune Trading Inc of the Philippines made a deal with Asia Golden Rice to buy 70,000 tonnes of white rice and 5,000 tonnes of hom mali rice, and Guangdong Youliang Grain & Oil Industrial Co of China signed with Homkula Co to buy 4,000 tonnes of geographical indication (GI) rice and organic hom mali rice.
As of Oct 19, Thailand had shipped 8.932 tonnes of milled rice, up 2.7% from the same period last year, worth US$4.60 billion, up 21.2%.
Rice farmers are likely to enjoy higher rice prices in the 2018-19 harvest, thanks to robust import demand and a lack of huge state stockpiles.
Overall paddy production for the annual harvest season, which began in late October, is estimated at 33.42 million tonnes of paddy, while demand for both domestic consumption and exports is expected to top 34.03 million tonnes of paddy.
Some 900,000 tonnes of milled rice are awaiting delivery by year-end, said Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department.