Private rice mills to join govt rice pledging scheme

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BANGKOK, July 17 – The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will propose including private rice mills in the government’s rice pledging scheme.

BAAC president Luck Wajananawat said private rice mills will be allowed to participate in bidding for the rice purchase programme for the 2013/2014 harvest season.

Half of the 2013/2014 rice yields will be put up for auction and sold to private rice mills while the government will be responsible for the other half, he said, adding that the proposal will be made to the National Rice Policy Committee later this month.

Thailand’s total rice yields from two crops in a year are about 30 million tonnes and 21-22 million tonnes are purchased by the government at the pledging price.

If private rice mills are allowed to bid for 10 million tonnes of rice, the government’s financial burden for the scheme will be alleviated by half, he said.

A Bt70-100 billion expense for the scheme is in the framework set by the Finance Ministry and it will lead to a balanced budget, Mr Luck said.

He explained that the proposal, if approved, will relieve the government’s financial burden by half and ensure the purchase of quality paddy which must be thoroughly checked by private rice millers.

Commercial banks will grant additional loans to rice mills, he said, and the scheme should cover 85 per cent of farmers or some 16-18 million tonnes of rice.