November 20, 2012 00:00 By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
Rice exporters have called for the government urgently to clarify to Nigeria that Thailand is not selling old rice to the African country.
Nigeria’s claim that it has received rice from crops dated up to 10 years ago has damaged the Kingdom’s image as the world’s leading rice exporter, they say.
The Nigerian government has said it will reduce imports of Thai and Indian rice as the two countries have shipped it old rice.
Nigeria would rely more on growing its own rice to supply its domestic market.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Associa-tion, said the Foreign Trade Department, which is directly responsible for rice trading, should immediately confirm to Nigeria and the world market that Thailand has not exported old rice.
Normally, Nigeria buys parboiled rice, which needs to be produced with newly harvested rice. It is impossible for Thailand to ship old rice to Nigeria as it alleges, he said.
Nigeria demands about a million tonnes of foreign rice each year, mostly parboiled rice, with about 300,000-400,000 tonnes supplied by Thailand.
According to the Commerce Ministry, Thailand shipped out 4.4 million tonnes of white and parboiled rice from January 1 to November 12.
Including jasmine rice, that brings the total to between 5.7 million and 5.8 million tonnes during the period.