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A mountain off our shoulders

China, Iraq and the US, having been reassured as to the quality of Thai rice stocks, are reportedly now interested in purchasing, in total, around 2.8 million tonnes.

Other countries have also reportedly expressed interest. No doubt there is still a long way to go before all excess stocks can be cleared and the industry's reputation fully restored, but coming so soon after reports that year-on-year exports of rice for the first two months of 2014 are up by 40 per cent on 2013, this is excellent news for the beleaguered government and, more importantly, for the nation and its hard-pressed farmers.

No doubt the sale price will be well below what the government had hoped, and thus considerable losses will continue to be incurred, but the darkest predictions of those who conjured up visions of rotting mountains of unsaleable rice have been shown to be nothing more than rumour-mongering or, on the part of some of the more extreme anti-government critics, wishful thinking.

Thank goodness for some positive news. Well done to those government ministers and other officials who are working hard to see the country's rice industry through this crisis.

Robin Grant

Bangkok


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