There are attempts to distort information about Thai rice market by some ill-intent elements to feed farmers with misleading information about the government's use of measures other than the rice pledging scheme to address rice price problem, said Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn on Sunday.

Even without the rice pledging scheme, she said that the government managed to help farmers sell their rice crops at prices above their costs because the government had intervened in regulating production costs such as the prices of fertilizers and insecticides while, at the same time invited rice millers to buy paddies from farmers at prices above market prices and promoting large-scale rice farming.

On top of that, farmers were encouraged to shift from rice farming to alternative agriculture in case their farmland is not suitable for rice cultivation, said the minister, adding that 30,263 farmers have switched to alternative farming covering 137,000 rai of land; 13,521 have switched to livestock raising and 66,800 farmers have changed from rice farming to other crops.

Minister Apiradee noted that Thai rice export for this year was growing satisfactorily both in volume and price, with export for the whole year to surpass 10 million tonnes from five million tonnes for the first five months.

Paddy price has rising to 8,700 baht per tonne as of June 7, 13,900-14,000 baht per tonne of 5% rice and 22,600-22,700 baht per tonne of Hom Mali rice while export prices of 5% rice stands at US$470/tonne, US$793/tonne of Hom Mali rice.

She attributed the rising domestic and export rice prices to the government's success in disposing 13.89 million tonnes of old rice stocks from the previous government's rice pledging scheme at an estimated cost of 130 billion baht.

With huge rice stockpiles being wiped out, she explained that there was no pressure on the current rice crops, hence causing rice prices to rise steadily.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

By tladmin