The Thai government has approved a three-year plan under a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to sell one million tonnes of rice annually to the Philippines from 2014-16, according to Bangkok Post newspaper.

The MOU will allow Thailand to be eligible to participate in bidding to sell rice to the Philippines, which also has similar arrangements with Vietnam and Cambodia under government-to-government (G2G) deals.

The Bangkok Post said Thailand's government bid to sell rice to the Philippines three times in 2012 and 2013 but managed to sell only 120,000 tonnes in 2012 and 767,000 tonnes last year.

It added that the country shipped 126,866 tonnes to the Philippines in the first seven months of this year, up 1,328 percent from the same period last year.

The newspaper quoted president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association Charoen Laothamatas as saying that the Philippines, which is expected to import 1.45 million tonnes of rice this year, has shifted to buying rice from Vietnam over the last couple of years because of Thai rice prices higher than market prices.

He also disclosed that the Indonesian government has now agreed to buy 175,000 tonnes of Thai white rice, mainly from new harvests, under a G2G contract.-VNA