Commerce Ministry to hold events to explain rice safety

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BANGKOK, July 22 – Thai consumers’ deteriorating confidence regarding the safety of locally-produced and stored rice has led the Commerce Ministry to organise events to give assurances to the public.

Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said the activities to emphasise non-toxic Thai rice will be held in several rice-cultivating regions in the next two weeks to bring back confidence among consumers.

Widespread news on the discovery of chemical residues in packaged Thai rice, culminating with negative reports by the Consumers Foundation and the media, has shaken the credibility of Thai rice.

Mr Yanyong said related government agencies will join hands in the attempt to boost confidence among consumers regarding the safety of Thai rice.

The deputy commerce minister added that Thailand’s production of parboiled rice has increased by 20 per cent, and the global demand for parboiled rice will be higher in the future.

He said the price of parboiled rice is higher than white rice by US$50 per tonne, adding that 103 rice mills nationwide are capable of producing parboiled rice for export.

Thailand’s major markets for parboiled rice are African and Middle Eastern nations, he said.

Regarding the pledging price of paddy in the 2013/2014 harvest season, Mr Yanyong said the Commerce Ministry will hold another round of meetings with farmers on July 29.

“Both parties are discussing the acceptable price. Reduction of pledging price should be gradual, and not abrupt,” he said. (MCOT online news)