Government to continue rice mortgage scheme

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BANGKOK, July 26 – The Thai government will continue its rice mortgage scheme and is confident that rice exports in 2012 will reach at least eight million tonnes in total, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said on Thursday.

Mr Boonsong affirmed that the government will continue this year’s rice mortgage scheme with unchanged guaranteed prices of Bt15,000 per tonne for white rice paddy and Bt20,000 ‘Hom Mali’ rice (Jasmine rice) paddy, the unmilled grain.

The National Rice Policy Committee is scheduled to meet to consider and set criteria and procedures for the rice mortgage for the upcoming 2012 to 2013 crop season.

The government’s rice pledging programme is set to start Oct 1 and to run through Feb 2013, the minister said, projecting that the budget for this year’s scheme would cost at least Bt200 billion as is being used for last year’s programme.

Meanwhile, Mr Boonsong expressed confidence that Thailand would be able to export eight tonnes of rice this year and would remain the world’s top rice exporter although the rice exports in the first half of this year dropped dramatically.

He explained that the falling rice export in this year’s first six months were not unusual as the rice was still exported in a large quantity.

Currently, relevant agencies are discussing with Vietnam, Cambodia and other neighbouring countries regarding further cooperation in joint rice sales in the form of an alliance.

In a related development, the government continued releasing rice from state-owned stockpiles, with rice bids and selling the rice under government to government contracts. The minister gave assurances that all the processes were conducted transparently.