BANGKOK – Thailand Rice Exporters Association expects to export some 7.5 million tons of rice this year, after it lost its ranking as the world’s top rice exporter in 2012, reports say.
“If the government and private sector cooperate we can win back the rice market,” Thai Rice Exporters Association president Charoen Laothama tas said on Wednesday.
Thailand was the world’s largest rice exporter for about three decades until two years ago, when the shipments decreased to 6.9 million tons.
The decline came following the government’s centerpiece scheme in 2011, under which the government bought rice at 40 to 50 percent above the market rates, creating a state monopoly and increasing the price of Thai rice on the international market.
The plan, however, cost the country more than USD 12.3 billion in loss in its first two years and put Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet under close scrutiny by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
This comes as a number of Thai rice farmers, on January 20, threatened to join the anti-government protesters if they do not receive the above-market price for their rice, promised by the government.