Bangkok (dpa) – China will buy 1 million tons of rice from Thailand,
the Thai government said Monday, as it attempts to sell off a huge
stockpile accumulated under a failed rice subsidy scheme.
Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikalaya told reporters that
China had agreed to buy the rice during his visit to Beijing last
China would buy the rice “at market price” the minister said, adding
that there would be further negotiations for another million tons in
Thailand built up over 13 million tonnes of surplus rice during the
previous government’s rice subsidy plan.
The current military government, which came to power in a coup last
year, says that the now-defunct policy was full of irregularities.
Former premier Yingluck Shinawatra was impeached for dereliction of
duty related to the rice subsidy scheme. Other senior officials face
corruption charges linked to the programme.
The government has struggled to sell off the stockpiles, managing to
auction off only 3.88 million tons of rice for around 40 billion baht
(1.13 billion US dollars), according to government figures.
Iran was also interested in buying rice from Thailand, Chatchai said.