Illustrative photo (Source: bloomberg.com)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai Government announced its plan to free more than 13 million tonnes of rice stockpiled in warehouses across the nation by mid-2017.

After the latest auction in December 2015, Thai rice reserve has remained at approximately 13.7 million tonnes.

The first attempt to realise the 2017 target is to sell 2 million tonnes of rice through government-to-government (G2G) deals in 2016, mainly with China, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The country has sealed a contract to sell rice for China valued at some 929 million USD. Meanwhile, the Philippines has unveiled its intention to buy up to 400,000 tonnes of rice as local supply is facing shortage due to prolonged drought and natural disasters.

This year, the Government’s focus will be on strategies to clear rice stocks and create sustainable growth for rice production and marketing. Rice auctions are scheduled to take place all year round.

Rice export is expected to reach at least 9 million tonnes, compared to almost 10 million tonnes shipped in 2015.

To facilitate more exports, the Government is considering providing soft loans for rice exporters that explore new markets, particularly those in Africa, as they would face a high risk in diversifying sales to such areas.-VNA