Commerce Ministry prepares to sell stockpiled rice in Africa and Middle East

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BANGKOK, 11 Dec 2014 – The Ministry of Commerce is proposing to the Cabinet to sell stockpiled rice to nations in Africa and the Middle East.

According to Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya, the ministry will propose a set of rice-exporting guidelines to the meeting of the national rice policy committee on December 19th. The proposed measures take into account the quality of the remaining rice in stock and seek to export them to a market suitable to their quality.

Recent inspections show that a large amount of the rice in stock is in a deteriorating condition, the Minister said, but affirmed that the Government would still use an auction in selling the grain as it was still a fair and transparent way for the business.

As for the two million tons of rice that would be sold to China, General Chatchai stated a sale agreement would be signed during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang who would attend the GMS Summit in Thailand on December 19th-20th.

As for new markets, General Chatchai added that his ministry is planning an aggressive public relations campaign to penetrate markets in the Middle East and Africa. He clarified that Middle East countries demand a higher quality grain while a more humble quality rice is wanted in the African markets.

The Minister also mentioned more than 8.7 million tons of rice have been sold during the first 10 months of this year, a 62% jump year-on-year, bringing in a foreign exchange of about 4.3 million US dollars. Thailand’s major rice trading partners are the Benin Republic, Nigeria, China, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, and Cameroon.