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Pledged rice 'still good' after 10 years

09 May 2024

Ten-year-old rice kept in warehouses in Surin since the Yingluck Shinawatra administration is still of good quality, according to Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, who says his ministry will conduct bidding for the rice next week.

Mr Phumtham, along with representatives of private and public organisations, rice surveyors, the Thai Rice Mill Association, rice exporters and journalists, visited two rice warehouses in Surin Monday morning to sample rice stored in them for more than 10 years to prove it was still good quality and edible.

It was stored in the warehouses as part of the rice-pledging scheme initiated by former prime minister Yingluck's government.

The rice warehouses they visited included the Kittichai warehouse in Prasat district and the Poolphol Trading Co warehouse in Muang district.

Kittichai warehouse received 258,106 sacks of rice weighing 26,094 tonnes from 24 rice mills under the scheme on Jan 3, 2014, while the latter received 94,637 sacks weighing 9,567 tonnes from six mills on March 14, 2014.

The two warehouses currently have 112,711 sacks weighing 11,656 tonnes and 32,879 sacks weighing 3,356 tonnes left, respectively.

The visits followed a claim by a rice expert in Surin that it was impossible for the 10-year-old rice to be still edible and who also said Mr Phumtham's plan to auction the rice for consumption was not feasible.

The expert's claim came following an earlier visit by Mr Phumtham to both warehouses in March to examine the rice. At the time, he said the rice was in good condition and edible.

During Monday's visit, Mr Phumtham dismissed the claim, saying whether rice becomes spoiled after 10 years largely depends on how it is preserved. If it is well-preserved, it will last a long time, but if it is badly preserved, it will go off after only a year, he said.

He said the rice at both warehouses had been carefully preserved and was frequently fumigated, while the warehouses themselves were completely sealed to prevent birds and rainwater from getting inside.

"The bidding should be able to start in a week at the earliest. We'll make it quick and independent", said Mr Phumtham.

The minister expects to raise about 200-400 million baht from the bidding.

Source : bangkokpost