Commerce Ministry expects to wipe out 10 million tonnes of rice from rice pledging scheme this year

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The Commerce Ministry has set a target to sell the remaining 10 million tonnes of rice bought under the Yingluck government’s rice pledging scheme within this year, commerce permanent secretary Ms Chutima Boonyaprapas said on Monday.

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The remaining rice stockpiles are divided into three lots: over six million tonnes of PAA-grade or good quality rice; about two million tonnes of Grade C rice which are not suitable for human consumption; and about two million tonnes of rotten rice which are good for industrial use such as for producing ethanol.

Ms Chutima said that the Commerce Ministry would try to sell the 10 million tonnes of rice through every channel, including open auctions, G-to-G deals, direct sale to domestic and overseas customers and even donations.

The sale of the rice will help ease the government’s burden in management and storage, said the permanent secretary, adding that the ministry would try to sell as much rice as possible.

She noted that once the remaining rice in storage are sold out it would be known by then how much loss has been incurred to the state from the controversial rice pledging scheme.

Besides the six million tonnes of good quality rice, Ms Chutima admitted that it would not be easy to offload the rest of the rice which are not suitable for human consumption.

The ministry put on auction 37,400 tonnes of rotten rice some time ago and only 21,100 tonnes were sold to Wor Thanasap company at approximately five baht per kilogramme.