BANGKOK – Thailand has issued a warning against sticky rice hoarders looking to capitalize on a recent price surge. Do so and risk a hefty fine and possible jail time.
Thailand is taking steps to stem the shortage of (glutinous) sticky rice. After prices surged to a more than five-year high. Anyone involved in the rice business, must report their stockpiles to officials, according to a notice by the Department of Internal Trade.
Any party found attempting to push up the price of sticky rice will be fined 5,000 baht or face up to five years in jail. Those found selling rice at excessive prices will be fined 100,000 baht or face up to seven years in jail.
“Currently, the supply of sticky rice has dropped sharply because of drought and a late harvest period,” the Department of Internal Trade said in a statement. “That has caused the sharp increase in the price of the commodity.”
Thailand has been hit by the worst drought in decade, with the dry weather shriveling crops in the farming heartlands. Which helped exacerbate an economic slowdown in Thailand. Also leading the central bank to cut the policy interest rate for the first time in more than four years.
The government plans to start a $683 million program to help rice farmers by supporting incomes.
Thailand is one of the world’s biggest exporters of rice, and also one of the largest consumers of rice. With about 3.7 million households depending on the commodity for their income. While they have the lowest income among sticky rice farmers. They play an important role in the country’s political and social stability, according to the Rice Department.