An audit of Thailand’s massive stockpiles of rice has found to be in a very poor state, with as much as 90% categorized as poor quality leaving only one tenth of standard export quality and the cost to the state could be 580-700 billion baht.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed about 4-5 percent of the rice was “downgraded” and therefore inedible and will be further used for ethanol conversion.
The military government in July launched the inspection of rice warehouses around the country to measure the quality of grain stockpiled under a scheme run by a government it deposed in May that paid farmers way above market rates and also found100, 000 tonnes of rice was missing.
Deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Gen Prayut was worried about farmers and the agricultural sector because the economy might not grow as expected, with the global economy yet to recover.
Prayuth’s government announced a loans scheme for farmers on Friday, offering zero-interest credit until Feb. 28 next year in return for keeping their rice off the market, with additional incentives for storing it themselves.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will be asked for its permission to sell good-quality grains in stocks after Government submits report to them
“Rice in the stockpiles was kept for a long time, so it’s imperative to accelerate disposal to prevent more deterioration,” Gen Prayut said.
It was found during inspection process that good-quality rice committed under the rice scheme was replaced with old, low-quality stock.
The source said the loss from the scheme was expected to be as much as 700 billion baht if the government failed to dispose of stocks within five years.
The government is in difficulty, as it is not only loaded with selling good-quality rice stocks but also with properly managing the large amount of poor quality.
The government recommences sales of 167,000 tonnes on Aug 7 after stuttering rice sales to carry out nationwide inspections.