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Thailand to sell 2m tonnes of stockpiled rice over 2 months
[BANGKOK] Thailand's military government plans to sell 2 million tonnes of rice over the next two months from stockpiles built up under the previous administration's failed buying programme, the Commerce Ministry said on Monday.
Thailand was the world's top rice exporter for decades until its grain became uncompetitive under the buying scheme brought in from 2011 by ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which paid farmers above market rates for their crops. "The National Rice Committee will take 2 million tonnes of rice from the 5 million tonnes for auction in the next one to two months," Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary at the ministry, told reporters.
The government has 16 million tonnes of rice in its stockpiles but 11 million tonnes of that is either spoiled or of a poor grade, she said.
The Commerce ministry will determine which rice from the stockpiles can be consumed by humans or livestock. Rice that is not fit for consumption will be sold for industrial use, she said.
Ms Chutima said 3.3 million tonnes of rice had been sold in the first four months of this year. That includes 1.2 million tonnes worth 16.22 billion baht (US$485 million) sold in two auctions in the first quarter.
The government said on March 20 it would delay further auctions to avoid adding to the downward pressure on prices. Thai 5 per cent broken white rice was quoted at around US$396 per tonne at that point. On Monday it was offered at US$385.