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Thai PM shrugs off rice worries


April 5, 2008

Thai PM shrugs off rice worries

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, resuming duties after being hospitalised for a two-day influenza treatment, brushed aside speculations of a looming rice shortage, saying the state's two-million-tonne rice stockpile is sufficient for domestic consumption.

Samak blamed local media for causing panic purchases among some consumers.

On Wednesday, Thailand's Internal Trade Department director-general Yanyong Phuangrat said the country was maintaining  a 4.3 million tonne stockpile of rice for domestic use nationwide, including the state's 2.1 million tonne stockpile and 2.2 million tonnes stored by private rice traders, Thai News Agency reported.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan is scheduled to meet representatives of state agencies and private organisations on Saturday to brainstorm on a strategy to market Thai rice, cope with the crop price and manage local consumption, according to Internal Trade Department (ITD) Director-General Yanyong Puangraj.

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