KALASIN – As Global rice prices plung, some Thai rice farmers have taken matters into their own hands and are turning to social media network Facebook to sell their grain, shunning rice millers, the industry’s traditional middlemen, whose prices they say are simply too low.
Nim Inthasorn, 33, who hails from the northeastern province of Kalasin, said she has received orders for over 50 tonnes of rice since she started a Facebook page in October.
“I would hold the rice until prices improve, but that isn’t practical so this is what I can do now,” she said.
Her family’s jasmine rice fetches around 7 baht (US$0.20) per kilogram from rice millers, but on Facebook she can sell it for 23 baht (US$0.66) to 34 baht (0.97) per kilogram, she added.
But the trend is unlikely to take over traditional methods of selling rice, said Pisanu Sangyoo, an analyst at the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
“Most farmers still have to do business with rice millers and exporters,” he said.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said this week the government supports farmers selling their grain online.
Meanwhile, Rice Millers Association president Mr Manas Kitprasert announced his resignation at a press conference held Thursday after rice millers have come under suspicion of colluding with local politicians to suppress Hom Mali paddy price.
Mr Manasâ€™ abrupt resignation has resulted in the entire executive committee of the association to automatically stop functioning.
Mr Manas categorically denied the allegation of collusion with some unspecified politicians to suppress Hom Mali paddy price in order to discredit the government.
However, he said he was willing to accept responsibility for failing to help farmers by propping Hom Mali paddy price which reportedly dropped to the lowest level in ten years.