Thai government is moving ahead with plans to set up a central market for milled rice as a distribution channel for rice traders and farmers after local millers and exporters agreed to the proposal. Commerce Ministry, after meeting the millers and exporters who expressed overwhelming support for the central market, will call another meeting with millers and exporters to discuss the investment format, market management, location, logistics and the payment system. Thailand is a leading producer of milled rice, averaging 20 million tonnes a year; the country has no central market for trading it. Such a marketplace would enable importers, wholesalers and retailers to shop for different grains. It would be somewhat modeled on the Sanyanqiao Grain and Oil Wholesale Market, a large-scale central market for cereals in Guangdong province, China, operated by the Guangtie Sanyanqiao Grain Goods Yard. The Guangdong market spans 100,000 square meters, handling trading services for 2.5 million tonnes of cereals a year.
Speaking after the meeting the Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said, “We hope the new central market for milled rice will enable exporters, millers and farmers to directly meet with potential buyers.” She further added that “The central market will also require rice quality inspections, to ensure transparency in trading.” Thailand currently only has a central market for rice paddy. She said the presence of a central market for milled rice would further strengthen the local economy as planned by the government. The cabinet recently approved a Budget Bureau proposal to earmark additional mid-year funds for fiscal 2017 worth 190 billion baht. Some 100 billion baht will be allocated for local development in 18 clusters of provinces, while the rest will go towards Village Fund development. Some 500,000 baht per village is planned under the scheme. The proposal will be filed in January for vetting by the National Legislative Assembly. Mr. Suthep Kongmak, president of the Thai Agriculturist Association, said his group had also agreed to the plan.