Rice crisis : Commerce Minister sees Thailand as… the new Middle East

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan believes escalating prices for rice will become a key factory in helping stimulate Thailand’s economy and boost consumers’ purchasing power.

The country’s gross domestic product will grow, as will farmers’ spending power, because rice prices are on the uptrend, Mingkwan said.

Mingkwan said the continuing trend would help turn Southeast Asia into a prosperous region, comparable even with the Middle East. (Nation)

It would be appropriate to ask the Commerce Minister what kind of drugs he’s taking. It’s dismaying. it’s scary.

Rice is not oil. Anyway, let’s have a look at the figures (something that the thai officials usually don’t like to do…).

Total value of thai exports in 2007 : 152 billions USD.

Total value of thai rice exports 2007 : 3,47 billions USD (source BOT)

2,3 % ! Now… let’s say double it for 2008 because of the higer prices… Rice will weight less than 5 % of the total value of thai exports ! Do I need to make a drawing ?

So the Minister is –but we start to know it– totally lunatic.

Maybe he could explain to us how will behave other countries that import thai goods… With the inflation of prices of food… what will happen ? They could reduce imports of other type of goods (food is a necessity, electrical appliances no) ? That would make sense.

My point : Thailand could win on rice (a little) and loosing (much more) on other types of exported goods.

He said 85 per cent of Thailand’s population consisted of low and lower-middle income groups, and of these between 17 million and 20 million people were rice farmers.

17 to 20 millions people are rice farmers… Sure… but how many have large surplus to sell to the middlemen ? How many are just… employees ? How many lease the land ? And all of them face higher costs (fertilizers, gasoline etc.)

So do you think they will all enjoy the higher selling prices ? Bullshit.

And what about the rest of… the population ? ! More than 40 millions of thais are suffering and will suffer from inflation of prices ! What about them ?

Farmers will have more money to spend on consumer goods and automobiles and be able to repay debts accumulated in recent years because of low returns for rice farming, he said.

Again, it’s astonishing so see such level zero : money is good only to buy… consummer goods and cars !

With people like this at the government, we can really fear the worse…

1 Response to “Rice crisis : Commerce Minister sees Thailand as… the new Middle East”

  1. 1 fall 17 April 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Actually, his idea on league of rice producing nation is not bad. I had been harping about this for god knows how long (Next item should be rubber).

    He is Mingkwan and a MP from populist party. Sure, the way he looks at things would be “Oh, jeez! Our farmer (vote-ase) could benefit from this!”. We are not talking even on Somkid’s level here, it’s Mingkwan.

    The problem of middleman had been there since time immemorial. If he is able to do something about it, then good. If not, he’s just another raving lunatic.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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