Souvenir jasmine rice packets to be sold at airports
Thai jasmine rice, including an organic variety, will go on sale to tourists for the first time at international airports around the country this month, as part of a government plan to promote the famed Thai rice to the rest of the world.
The Commerce Ministry yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Airports of Thailand to open booths to sell small packs of Thai rice at Suvarnabhumi Airport as souvenirs.
Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said the booths should open late this month. Premium-grade rice will be offered in stylish packaging.
Prices will start at Bt150 for a half-kilogram pack.
"Thai rice should become better known among foreigners as well as increasing sales" under the airport project, he said. "About 2.5 million are expected to purchase Thai rice from the airports annually."
Three booths will be set up at Suvarnabhumi to sell the rice packs: at the check-in area, and at the east and west departure zones. The booths will be operated by King Power Duty Free.
Later, the programme will be expanded to Don Mueang, Phuket and Chiang Mai airports.
Moreover, the Commerce Ministry will forge closer ties with the Thai Airways International to encourage the national carrier to serve jasmine rice in its menus on board and in its lounges.
Surasak Raingkrul, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the department expected to sell up to 100,000 packs of rice a month through the airport project.
In the future, the ministry plans to sell promotional rice packs at other international airports overseas, he added.
According to the ministry, Thailand shipped 4.92 million tonnes of rice worth US$3.33 billion (Bt104 billion) in the first nine months of the year. Major export markets are Iraq, Benin, South Africa, the United States and Japan.