Minister Surapong affirms Indonesia still believes in quality of Thai rice

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BANGKOK, 13 July 2013 The Foreign Ministry has affirmed that Indonesia is still confident in the quality of Thai rice, while the Commerce Ministry is keen to carry on its government-to-government rice scheme. 

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul spoke after meeting with Mr. Marty Natalegawa, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, revealing that Indonesia is set to increase rice order from Thailand to 1 million tons per year, while expecting to see a number of memorandums of understanding being signed in the next 5-6 years. The talk between the two did not include the rumor of Thai rice containing chemical residues.

Meanwhile, during the “PM Yingluck Meets the People” program, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan said the government is adamant on reducing the cost of living of Thais, especially for agricultural products. Furthermore, he said the Energy Ministry will step up measures to tackle the rising cost of fuel like NGV and LPG.

He went on to mention about the rice rumor, saying those who spread rumor of spoiled rice will be brought to justice as they have ruined the good image of Thai rice. In addition, he said the government-to-government rice program will be continued, adding that the government will give explanations to its traders regarding the rumor.

As for the government’s rice pledging program, Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Warathep Rattanakorn reiterated that the program is aimed at helping the farmers as it helps them create more income, while reaffirming that the rice scheme will not affect the government’s financial status.