Minister to lead Thai rice promotion in Singapore


THE Commerce Ministry will cooperate with exporters to promote the sale of Thai rice in Singapore, focusing on Hom Mali (jasmine) rice, speciality rice grains, and products made from rice.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will lead rice exporters to Singapore from July 26-28, as that market has high purchasing power and could be a springboard for export of Thai rice to other countries.

"In an attempt to increase the value of rice export, the government will set up a strategy to promote rice in various markets. Singapore is one of the targeted markets for increasing sales of Thai rice as it is a main staple [there], while its consumers have high purchasing power," she said.

During the mission, Apiradi will meet with rice importers in Singapore and survey modern traders and restaurants in the country on the feasibility of getting them to sell Thai rice.

Besides Hom Mali rice, the ministry will promote other speciality grains such as Riceberry, Sung Yod rice (which is a geographical-indication product) and organic rice.

Products made from rice will also be promoted, such as cooked rice for senior people, vitamin-added rice for children, cosmetics, snacks and supplements, aiming to increase value-added for rice exports.

Singapore is a major importer of rice from Thailand, and favours Hom Mali rice.

In 2014, Thailand exported 162,977 tonnes of rice to Singapore worth Bt4.3 billion. The volume dropped to 128,941 tonnes worth Bt3.63 billion last year. In the first five months of this year, export volume dropped 7.9 per cent to 51,194 tonnes, while value dropped 11 per cent to Bt1.34 billion.

Apiradi said producers should focus more on adding value to agricultural products including rice. The government will also support innovation in the rice industry by setting up the country's first rice institute for commercial operations.

Rice can be developed as a value-added "super food" in the form of various products. The commercial rice institute would contribute to adding value to rice so that farmers would receive more income.



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