Thailand: Ministry unveils discount packaged rice measure

The Commerce Ministry has teamed up with the Thai Rice Mills Association, Thai Rice Packers Association and petrol stations to sell 1.5 million kilogrammes of packaged rice at a discount of up to 48% or 5-100 baht to help mitigate the cost of living.

The discount scheme started on Thursday and runs until July 31.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said packaged rice made available through the scheme includes packs weighing 1kg, 5kg and 48kg produced under 228 brand names. It comprises hom mali fragrant rice, mixed hom mali rice, white rice and glutinous rice.

Discount packaged rice is projected to be sold at 703 distribution points, 480 of which are petrol stations operated by PTT, PT and Bangchak. There are 77 community distribution points as well as 46 located at millers’ warehouses or stores.

The remainder are mobile grocery stores that serve communities in Greater Bangkok.

The Commerce Ministry expects the discount scheme to reduce the cost of living by no less than 13 million baht.

“The first phase will run until July 31. The ministry is set to extend the scheme if it receives an overwhelming response from the public,” said Mr Jurin.

Amid growing pressure from rising oil prices, which greatly affect manufacturers’ production costs, the ministry vowed to maintain the prices of consumer goods for as long as possible to ensure a minimal impact on consumers.

Products with price caps include instant noodles, fresh and raw cooking materials such as meat and eggs, canned foods, packaged rice, seasoning sauces, vegetable oils, soft drinks, dairy products, electric appliances, detergents, fertilisers, insecticides, pet food, steel, cement, paper, pills and medical supplies.

The ministry also vows to carefully consider requests by producers to raise their product prices, while insisting the ministry has yet to allow any instant noodle producer to hike prices for concern that it would affect low-income people who largely rely on instant noodles as a source of nutrition.