Thailand is the world’s second largest rice exporter, and it is confronted by a fall in prices that has mostly affected the rice farmers, with prices hitting a thirteen months low. Now the Thai Government has taken action and has proposed a set of measures with would help alleviate the pressure from the country’s rice farmers.
According to Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradee Tantraporn, rice farmers will receive 10,500 baht, or 299 US dollars, for every tonne of white paddy stored. The measure is aimed at all Thai farmers, with those who store Thai Pathum Thani fragrant rice to receive 11,300 baht, that is 322 US dollars, per tonne.
“The overall budget is set at 18 billion baht ($514 million). This is to help relieve grievances farmers are facing while the main crop is being harvested,” Mrs. Apiradee Tantraporn told journalists.
Last week, the government announced it would offer loans worth 1,3 billion US dollars to jasmine rice farmers, if they store the grain for at least six months to slow down market supply.
Another measure the government has taken is easier access to open rice paddy markets. Mrs. Tantraporn said this is in order to boost competition among rice farmers and for their benefit, in the middle of this period’s price depression. According to state officials, in the province of Udon Thani’s retail centres and PTT gas stations, markets will be opened in the next weeks. Here the farmers will be allowed to sell their rice and negotiate the prices directly with the buyers, circumventing the need for intermediaries.
Action is also taken in Lopburi and Sukhothai, where the government and other agencies have joined forces in order to promote and allow farmers to sell their rice directly. In Sukhothai, milled rice was on sale at up to 40% discount prices, while in Lopburi, the Si Sa Ket police was put together a market for farmers to sell the rice to their families and police staff.
In total, there will be no less than 109 open markets organised in 44 provinces, all with the sole purpose to to help farmers sell rice paddy directly to consumers.