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business

Rice deal with I'nesia ensures export goal


THAILAND has recently won a government-to-government contract for the sale of 500,000 tonnes of rice to Indonesia, ensuring that the Kingdom should be able to ship some 10 million tonnes globally this year.

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Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn yesterday said the G2G rice deal should generate income of Bt8 billion, while helping to ensure that market prices during the current harvest season do not fall significantly, to the detriment of farmers.
“With rising drought concerns, Thailand should be able to export the targeted level of 10 million tonnes of rice this year, of which about 1.15 million tonnes will be from the government’s stocks. For next year, we should again be able to ship at least 10 million tonnes, given forecasts of strong demand in the market,” she said.
In the first nine months of this year, the country exported 6.61 million tonnes of rice worth Bt106.78 billion, down 12.5 per cent year on year in volume terms, and 11.6 per cent in value.
The Foreign Trade Department and Indonesia’s State Food Procurement Body, Bulog, would sign the G2G contract next week.
The bulk of the deal – 450,000 tonnes – is for 15-per-cent white rice, and the remainder for 5-per-cent white rice.
Shipments will be made from this month through March next year.
Apiradi explained that the government would distribute the Indonesia-bound rice to members of the Thai Rice Exporters Association for shipment allocation.
Moreover, the government will seek more G2G contracts to release rice gradually from its stocks.
The minister said that besides Indonesia, many other countries had shown high interest in purchasing Thai rice, including the Philippines, Iran, Bangladesh and countries in Africa.
Thailand will also soon sign the previously announced G2G contract for the sale of 1 million tonnes of rice to China.
Meanwhile, as part of a plan to stimulate the domestic economy, the Commerce Ministry has launched a project called “Smart Online SMEs: SOS” to help increase the efficiency of small and medium-sized enterprises in trading overseas.
The project aims to train SMEs to do business online by learning from major international companies such as Alibaba, Google and DHL, which will help with the training.
About 3,000 SMEs will be trained in the first year, and up to 15,000 in the following three years.
The goal is for those SMEs to find about 100,000 overseas trading partners and generate combined revenue of about Bt10 billion, the ministry said.
In addition, the ministry will support trading at 231 community markets and 30 farm outlets around the country, while supporting the development of 88 local wholesale stores and 10,200 retail shops nationwide this year, so that they can compete with modern traders.
Apiradi yesterday informed the National Legislative Assembly about the rice currently stored in the government’s stocks, in response to a motion by NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak asking the prime minister about the measures for taking care of stockpiled rice.
Apiradi said the government had carried out extensive examinations of the rice stocks since August last year and found that there was 18.7 million tonnes in the stockpiles. Of that total, 12 million tonnes was in good condition, 6 million tonnes damaged, and 400,000 tonnes missing.

Published : November 06, 2015

By : PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI THE N