THE COMMERCE Ministry has set a minimum export price for tapioca starch of US$320 per tonne, and $180 per tonne for tapioca chip, in a bid to drive up the domestic cassava price to Bt1.90 per kilogram, from Bt1.60 currently.
During the harvest season,which starts next month.
Winichai Chaemchaeng, vice minister for commerce, said the upcoming harvest season from November to April was expected to yield 31 million tonnes of cassava. “During the peak season from January to April, about 21 million tonnes of cassava is expected to be harvested, so export prices should be set,” he said.
The minimum export price will be effective from November 1 to April 30.
The minimum will be $320 FOB (free on board) for tapioca starch, and $180 for tapioca chip. Exporters should also have stockpile ratio of 1:1.5, meaning that if they plan to export 1 tonne of cassava, they need to have 1.5 tonnes stockpiled in the warehouse.
The government will stringently control imports of cassava, only allowing imports from neighbouring countries through permanent border checkpoints.
Moreover, the ministry has asked ethanol producers to buy fresh cassava at Bt1.90 per kilo (for 25 per cent humid). Ethanol producers will be able to purchase 13,000 tonnes of fresh cassava.
The Commerce Ministry has also asked for the Energy Ministry to encourage the use of gasohol.
Farmers will be encouraged to delay harvesting while prices are low. The average price of cassava should be above Bt2 per kilo.
Other measures include a two-year debt moratorium, and decreasing interest rates. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative will also provide soft loans of Bt20,000 for cassava farmers charging interest of only a 0.5 per cent per annum.
To encourage cassava export, the ministry will set up a business-matching activity to link domestic traders with foreign buyers. The activity is scheduled for November 13-16 in Bangkok.
The ministry will also conduct a roadshow to promote tapioca imports by many countries, including India, South Korea and Japan.