The Thai government has placed a temporary embargo on new rice export contracts to ensure that there will be sufficient rice for local consumption.
GV & MV rice being harvested (3 shots)
GV woman carrying rice
CU & GV water-buffalo used to thresh rice (6 shots)
GV & MV rice unloaded from boat (4 shots)
GV & MV rice carried into godown (3 shots)
MV rice being milled (3 shots)
CU & GV rice on barges (2 shots)
GV people queuing for rice (2 shots)
GV & MV man scooping rice into bag (3 shots)
MV & GV people receiving rice rations (2 shots)
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Background: The Thai government has placed a temporary embargo on new rice export contracts to ensure that there will be sufficient rice for local consumption.
According to the Director-General of the Thai Foreign Trade Department, Suthee Nartvoratat, existing contracts on a government to government basis will be carried out. But delivery schedules will be extended over a longer period of time so as not to adversely affect the local market.
Under existing contracts, the Thai government is committed to exporting between 45,000 to 75,000 tons of rice during April, 1974. Private exporters will be allowed to export 75,000 tons during the same period.
From the beginning of 1974 up to March 10, Thailand has exported a total of 292,000 tons of rice -- 22.4 per cent less than the corresponding period last year, when 380,000 tons were exported.
The temporary ban on Thailand's rice exports comes at a time when there is a worldwide shortage of grain. The impact of the ban will have immediate effect on Thailand's traditional markets within Asia, as Thailand is one of the largest exporters of rice in the region.
The price of rice, which has been steadily increasing, is expected to go up even more sharply. And a few places, like Hong Kong, are expected to look towards The People's Republic of China for rice supplies to offset the temporary embargo.
The absence of a definite export policy for rice has been partly responsible for the domestic shortage. Within Thailand, long queues have been forming wherever "cheap" rice (at 45 baht -- or less than one pound sterling -- per picul) is being sold.
Although the Thai government hopes to check the shortage of domestic supplies by temporarily banning exports, the government is faced with a short-term problem of profiteering at home.
Anti-profiteering laws, introduced last year, have been lifted in October to help farmers and promote exports. But with the shortage of rice and the absence of an effective check on prices, there is an increasing concern that Loarding will drive the price of rice beyond the reach of common householders.