Rice Millers Association chief quits but denies allegation of rice price suppression

Rice Millers Association president Mr Manas Kitprasert announced his resignation at a press conference held Thursday after rice millers have come under suspicion of colluding with local politicians to suppress Hom Mali paddy price.

Mr Manas’ abrupt resignation has resulted in the entire executive committee of the association to automatically stop functioning.

Mr Manas categorically denied the allegation of collusion with some unspecified politicians to suppress Hom Mali paddy price in order to discredit the government.

However, he said he was willing to accept responsibility for failing to help farmers by propping Hom Mali paddy price which reportedly dropped to the lowest level in ten years.

Prime Minister Prayut first broke the news about the alleged collusion between some rice millers and local politicians to suppress paddy price. Government officials also questioned why there were reports of price slump even before Hom Mali crops are harvested and marketed.

Attributing rice price decline to global rice market, Mr Manas said millers based their purchasing price of paddy from farmers on the price exporters set to buy rice from millers with millers taking into consideration the humidity of paddy.

Price of white rice paddy with 15 percent humidity was quoted at between 7,200-7,500 baht/tonne while Hom Mali paddy was quoted at 9,000 baht/tonne.

Association vice president Vichai Srinavakul, meanwhile, expressed optimism that the government’s intervention measure to extend credits to farmers so they could hold back the sale of their crops and keep them in storage might help push up paddy price.

Rice millers have prepared 70-80 percent of the space of their warehouses to store paddy for farmers.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)