Thailand and Vietnam have reached an agreement to increase the price of locally produced rice on the world market amid rising costs for farmers.
The Vietnam deal is the first of its kind, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said, adding that the two countries would immediately set up special teams to promote the idea in their countries. .
The agreement was reached at the end of recent talks between the two countries on rice export prices, it added.
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, his adviser, was appointed to lead Thailand’s price negotiation team, while the ministry was ordered to hold meetings with associations of farmers, millers, exporters and other affected groups,” said Mr Chalermchai.
In the upcoming meetings, details of the Thai-Vietnamese rice deal will be discussed so that all parties know what could be done next to increase the price of exported rice, depending on rising costs, he added.
“The agreement is the first step in cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam to help rice farmers achieve fairer export prices by using the global market pricing mechanism,” Chalermchai said.
While rice farmers have been hit hard by the twin crises, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, world market prices for rice have changed little, he said.
Thailand, the world’s third-largest rice exporter, and Vietnam, the world’s second-largest exporter, will team up to negotiate a reasonable rise in world market rice prices, he said.
Last year, India exported the largest volume of rice at 19.55 million tonnes, while Vietnam and Thailand exported 6.24 and 6.12 million respectively, Alongkorn said.
Thailand has set a target of exporting 7 million tons of rice this year, he added.
See: Increased production and export of rice in Thailand
Between January and July, about 3.99 million tons of this product were exported, worth 70.34 billion baht, which represents an increase of 58.2% in the amount compared to the figures of the same period last year, he said.
However, the value of exports only increased 34.1 percent, it added.
To implement the deal, Thailand and Vietnam will then work to create a government negotiating mechanism, while trying to convince other rice-exporting countries to join the initiative, he said.-states.
“Pushing for fairer prices is a mission and responsibility of all rice-producing and exporting countries,” said Mr. Alongkorn.
“And as climate change affects rice cultivation and yields around the world, all parties must come together to ensure global food security.”
Rice farmers would no longer be able to cope with unfair rice prices on the world market if left alone without help and cooperation, he added.
While the war between Russia and Ukraine increased the cost of rice production, rice prices simply did not rise proportionately, he added.
Currently, the production cost of growing rice in Thailand has almost doubled to between 7,500 and 8,000 baht (205.54 and 219.24 euros) per ton of rice, compared to only between 4,500 and 5,000 baht (123.32 and 137 euros) per ton of rice. two years ago, said Pramot Charoensin, president of the Thai Farmers Association.
What farmers really need is help from the government to reduce production costs and achieve fairer rice prices, he added.
Vietnam is better off than Thailand because labor costs are lower in the rice farming sector, he added.
Vietnam’s cost of production is about US$100 (about 3,600 baht) lower per ton of rice produced than Thailand’s, he added.
He welcomes cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam on rice prices, but warns that India still has more of a say in setting rice prices on the world market due to its position as the largest exporter.
So if Thailand and Vietnam start selling their rice at much higher prices, those rice-buying countries could look to India for rice supplies, he said.
Rangsan Sabaimuang, president of the Thai Rice Mills Association, is also in favor of fairer prices for all parties, but doubts the attempt will ultimately succeed.
“The question is why were these oil exporting countries able to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries?”
“I would like this to be taken as a model,” he said, referring to the formation of an OPEC-like group to regulate rice prices.
Attempts by different parties on the world stage for fairer prices for agricultural products have never been successful in the last three or four decades, he said.
Therefore, cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam has become the first step for this cooperation to materialize, he said.
“More competition in the export of rice and agricultural products,” he said.
“Only cooperation will allow rice farmers to survive.
Food safety is a shared responsibility.”
Source: Bangkok Post
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