August 13, 2014 01:00
By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
Thailand's first Rice Trade Development Institute is set to be launched next year with the aim of fuelling industry growth and ensuring it is sustainable.
Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, said the institute should result in the sustainable development of every sector involved in the rice industry.
She said representatives of all industry stakeholders – government agencies, farmers, millers, packers, domestic rice traders and exporters – would be on a committee to draw up plans and strategies to develop the industry.
She said the institute would promote all aspects of the sector – plantations, production, and marketing.
All participants could share their ideas for the industry’s development, while the committee’s strategies could be adopted by all stakeholders so that they could comply with the institute’s plan.
Under the plan, Chutima said the Budget Bureau would set aside Bt500 million for the first year of the institute’s establishment.
She said the institute should get about Bt587 million from the International Trade Promotion Fund.
The government plans to promote the rice industry in every facet and Thailand has the potential to become the world’s leader in plantations, seed development, polishing, and marketing, she said.
The institute would also help solve problems relating to duplication in the work of relevant government agencies. All agencies would work under the same umbrella and be steered by the institute.
Chutima said that to aid the long-term development of the industry, the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order had also devised a project that aimed to reduce the cost of production and increase yield per rai.
“A rice seed bank will be established soon to support the production of high-quality rice grains for farmers,” she said.
“The government has also set up a zoning system for rice cultivation and is encouraging farmers to grow other economic crops on land that is not suitable for rice.”
Chutima said the Rice Policy Committee had recently agreed to set up a fund to help farmers if rice prices fall.