Govt to release rice to domestic traders
The Commerce Ministry will soon release rice from its stockpiles to domestic traders to cater to high demand in the Thai market, though the stronger baht has caused difficulties for rice export.Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said yesterday that the ministry was planning to release some stocks from the current harvest season. However, it has not yet said what the exact volume would be.
Boonsong said calls from domestic packers for the government to release rice from its stockpiles showed that market demand for the commodity remained high. However, he said the government would not release large amounts because a low volume of rice was entering its warehouse during the current phase of the pledging programme.
Previously, the government projected that about 15 million tonnes of paddy would enter its warehouses under the pledging scheme. But only 9 million tonnes has entered the pledging scheme.
The minister also reaffirmed that the government still had adequate warehouse space to stock more rice under the pledging project.
So far, more than 200 warehouses have joined the programme. Boonsong said more warehouses would join the project soon, ensuring adequate space to stock more rice.
By the end of the current harvest season, about 11 million tonnes of rice is expected to enter the warehouses.
He said the government would prioritise releasing the rice domestically because of the high demand, while export might be delayed by the stronger baht.
However, to promote more rice shipments overseas, Boonsong will today lead seven Thai exporters to Shanghai to promote import by China.
The plan is to encourage more export of jasmine rice. During the mission, the minister and exporters will meet with rice importers from Shanghai, Nanning and Kunming.