The rice management board announced on Monday that it plans to sell the remaining stockpile of rice within two months. Rice stockpiles have risen to 11.4 million tons. The announcement is seen as impossible by many.
Thailand is the second largest rice exporter in the world only behind India. India has been attempting to also reduce its rice stockpiles, with sales expected to begin next week.
Thailand has only been able to sell off 5.05 million tons of rice since May 2014. Several tenders over this period resulted in US$1.53 billion in rice sales. The government previously hoped to sell off its remaining rice stockpiles by the end of 2017, but has since set the ambitious goal of a two-month selloff.
Many of the country’s traders have voiced skepticism following the announcement.
Auctions are being scheduled for next week, with rice being auctioned off in 1-million-ton lots. Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Minister, stated, “We aim to auction it all off within two months.”
The remaining stockpiles have a value of 100 billion baht, according to Ms. Chutima. Tanasan Rice Group’s president, Supachai Vorraapinyaporn, stated that the goal is “a million percent impossible.” Mr. Supachai’s group is one of the three largest rice exporters in the country.
“Perhaps they meant two years, not two months,” replied Mr. Supachai. He noted that previous auctions were held monthly and only consisted of 400,000 tons of rice.
The country’s stockpile consists of 100,000 tons of “good grade rice,” 7.5 million tons of “substandard” rice for consumption, 2.4 million tons of rotten rice and 1.5 million tons of rice for industrial use.