Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter, has sold 240,000 tonnes of rice from its stocks to Ivory Coast in a government-to-government deal, the Thai commerce minister said on Friday.
“Shipment will start now and run through six months,” Boonsong Teriyapirom told reporters.
He said the deal was for 5 percent broken white rice, 100 percent B grade fragrant rice and broken grade fragrant rice.
He did not break down details on prices but said: “All that rice is worth $145 million.”
According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the 100 percent B grade fragrant rice was offered at $1,083 per tonne, while the 5 percent broken grade was at $590 and the broken grade fragrant rice at $547.
A senior government official close to the deal said the Thai government offered Ivory Coast special credit terms, without giving details.
Boonsong said Thailand was also in talks with other governments about rice deals, including Bangladesh, Guinea, Indonesia and China.
“We aim to sell a total of 3 million tonnes via government deals this year,” Boonsong said.
He also said the government would renew a rice intervention scheme that finished at the end of June.
“We will definitely continue to buy rice from farmers from the major crop and the intervention price should be the same, at 15,000 baht per tonne,” he said.
The intervention scheme expired with the government holding record high stocks of 15 million tonnes of paddy, or around 8 million tonnes of milled rice.
The new scheme could start on August 1 rather than in October, the normal date, because the government may set an earlier than usual date for the official start of the new crop, Boonsong said.
The Agriculture Ministry has proposed that the government start buying rice earlier than usual to support farmers who grew off-season rice after their crops were destroyed by severe flooding late last year.
“This proposal should be bought to the National Rice Committee in coming weeks,” he said.