DIT proposes to curb direct sales of rice to ease low price problem


The Department of Internal Trade (DIT) will next week propose measures to address the ongoing low rice price to the Rice Policy Committee. 

Mr. Somchart Sroythong, the DIT Director General, made the announcement after his meeting with rice mill operators and exporters aimed at maintaining the stability of grain prices in the local market and seeking assistance measures for rice farmers. He said the department would focus on selling rice to exporters through auctions rather than direct sales, following the private sector’s views that the latter method made them unable to predict the exact amount of rice entering the market, leading rice prices to further plummet.

Mr. Somchart revealed there were other approaches proposed during the meeting such as requiring exporters and rice mills to increase the amount of rice reserves and to have the government pay for the compensation, but his department discarded the suggestions as they are likely to breach the constitution which prohibits a caretaker government from spending additional budgets.

He strongly believed that a delay in direct rice sales would not affect the government’s ability to repay 20 billion baht it has borrowed from the central budget to pay farmers under the rice pledging scheme.