Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Asian country of Bangladesh to sell about one million tonnes of Thai parboiled rice annually, according to the Thai Commerce Ministry.
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, on behalf of the Thai government, inked the MoU on selling no more than one million tonnes of parboiled rice a year to the Bangladeshi government.
For 2012 to 2013, total rice exports to the South Asian country are targeted at some US$500 million (Bt16 billion), depending on the rice production of each country and the global rice price.
The MoU enhanced bilateral cooperation, aiming to boost food security in Bangladesh, as its own annual production has been unable to meet demand for domestic consumption and had to import approximately one million tonnes of rice per year.
The agreement is a good sign for Thai rice sales, Mr Boonsong explained. In spite of fierce sales competition among rice exporting countries and the higher price of Thai rice, compared to India and Vietnam, Thai rice is still in demand thanks to its quality standard.
In 2011, Thailand exported 736,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh.
Apart from the agreement with Bangladesh, Thailand also signed MoUs on the rice trade with ASEAN member countries Indonesia and the Philippines for a total of two million tonnes. According to the three MoUs, the country annually sells about three million tonnes of rice in the form of state-to-state trade.
Mr Boonsong said that Thailand had exported 985,700 tonnes of rice in the first two months of this year, valued at $677 million (some Bt21 billion).
He projected that the country’s rice exports will likely have bright prospects because most rice exporting countries still faced the climate change which affected their cultivation and production amid the ongoing high demand of rice importing countries.
As a result, the ministry forecast 2012 Thai rice exports of at least nine million tonnes.
In a related development, the commerce minister was scheduled to visit Vietnam, one of the world’s top rice exporters, in order to discuss with relevant agencies boosting cooperation and determining the direction of rice prices between the two countries. (MCOT online news)