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Thai Govt revises prices and conditions for rice-pledging scheme
Reuters, Narch 12, 2004
The Rice Policy Committee yesterday revised both prices and conditions for the government's rice-pledging scheme in order to prevent fraud in the handling of the government's rice stockpile.

After the meeting, Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook said the new conditions were targeted specifically at the private warehouses that the government contracts to store its rice.

Under the new procedures, farmers will continue to harvest and send their paddy rice to rice mills for polishing.

The responsibility of the rice miller will end immediately after the polished rice is delivered to a warehouse, instead of 90 days after shipment under the old rules.

Warehouse companies will have to take longer and increased responsibility for the government's rice after taking delivery of the stock until the bagged rice can be exported. Warehouse owners will also be requested to provide an independent surveyor to check to the rice's quality, insurance coverage against damage or loss to the rice stock and a 15-to-20-per-cent bank guarantee to indemnify the government if they cannot fulfil the export orders.

The committee also agreed to raise its payment for space rental from Bt1.5 to Bt2 per 100-kilogram bag per month to compensate for the warehouse companies' rising expenses. The Commerce Ministry's Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry's Marketing Organi-sation for Farmers (MOF) will take joint responsibility for the rice inventory.

Under the new management guidelines only the warehouse owner, the representative of the insurer and PWO and MOF officials can handle keys to open warehouses participating in the government programme.

To reflect the spot market, the committee has raised prices under the rice-pledging programme for this year's second crop, to be applied from March 20 to July 30, on a total of 250,000 tonnes.

As a result, farmers stand to gain more money from the programme.

The pledging price for 100-per-cent white rice has been increased from Bt5,100 to Bt5,250 per tonne, while for 25-per-cent white rice it has been increased from Bt4,600 to Bt4,800.

For 15-per-cent white rice, the price has been raised from Bt4,800 to Bt4,900, for 10-per-cent from Bt4,900 to Bt5,000, and for 5-per-cent from Bt5,000 to Bt5,100.

The government will release 1.8 million tonnes of rice immediately from its stocks to help exporters keep commitments because domestic supplies are tight, Watana said.
MGR Archive 12.3.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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EU Prices Baldo €660
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