Decade-old Thai rice from controversial scheme found fresh

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai conducted a rice inspection following an invitation from the Association of Thai Agricultural Product Surveyors.

The association, keen to dispel allegations regarding the quality of rice held under the contentious rice-pledging scheme, orchestrated an eventful visit to warehouses owned by Poonpon Trading Ltd and Kittichai Ltd in different districts of the northeastern province.

Accompanied by three key stakeholders, warehouse owners, provincial commerce officials, and representatives from the Public Warehouse Organisation, Phumtham meticulously inspected the rice stocks. In a twist that surprised many, the verdict emerged: the rice, despite its age, retained its quality.

“We need to release this rice to the market as soon as possible.”

Phumtham highlighted the opportune moment given the current decent rice prices. This decision, he claimed, would not only secure government profits but also alleviate various stakeholders’ concerns.

The rice-pledging scheme, initiated by former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra post the 2011 election, aimed to empower Thai farmers by offering higher prices for their crops. However, the scheme was marred by controversy, with accusations of significant financial losses and substandard storage practices rampant, reported The Nation.

According to the Association of Thai Agricultural Product Surveyors, Poonpon Trading’s warehouse harbours 32,879 bags of rice, while the Kittichai facility accommodates a whopping 112,711 bags, each bag weighing 50 kilogrammes.

In related news, an upward trend in rice exports from Thailand to Hong Kong and China is anticipated this year, with a particular demand for riceberry and brown rice. This expectation is driven by the global economic recovery and a discerning preference for high-quality rice grains. Thailand is also aspiring to establish a distribution centre in Shenzhen to bolster its market presence.

In other news, a downward shift is projected for Vietnam’s rice exports in the current year, with estimates ranging between 6.5 and 7.0 million metric tonnes. This is a noticeable drop from the previous year’s record high of 8.1 million tonnes, as reported by the Vietnam Food Association.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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