Thailand and Vietnam Reach Deal for Fairer Rice Prices

Thailand and Vietnam reached an agreement to increase the glocal price of locally produced rice due to rising costs for farmers, the government announced on Saturday.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on said the unprecedented Thailand-Vietnam deal had been reached during recent talks on rice export prices between the two nations.

Both countries agreed to immediately set up special teams to boost the price hike locally.

Mr. Chalermchai appointed his adviser Alongkorn Ponlaboot as head of the price negotiation team in Thailand. He also ordered his ministry to meet with all parties involved to discuss the agreement’s price.

Such meetings should include associations of farmers, exporters, millers, and other interested groups. All must also clarify the steps they can take to increase the price of exported rice in line with rising costs.

The agreement is the first step in the cooperation between Thailand and Vietnam to define pricing mechanisms in the global market and help rice farmers obtain fairer export prices.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have not affected rice products extensively, but their prices increased slightly.

Vietnam and Thailand are the world’s second and third largest rice exporters, with 6.24 million and 6.12 million tons, respectively, in 2021. Therefore, the two nations will come together to negotiate a reasonable increase in the price of rice for export, Mr. Chalermchai explained.

Thai and Vietnamese authorities should work together to create a government negotiation mechanism and try to convince more exporting countries to join the initiative.

The Thai price negotiation team’s head Mr. Alongkorn said that all rice-producing and exporting countries have the mission and responsibility to push for fairer prices.

“And because climate change is affecting the rice growing and its yields around the world, all sides need to join hands to ensure the world’s food security,” he stated.

Mr. Alongkorn insisted that rice farmers could not deal with unfair prices on the world market if left alone without help and cooperation.

Thai Agriculturist Association’s president Pramot Charoensin said the current local rice crop’s production cost has nearly doubled, rising from 4,500-500 baht per tonne two years ago to 7,500-8,000 baht per tonne in 2022.

However, Mr. Pramot said that, in addition to fairer prices, farmers needed the government to help reduce production costs.

While Mr. Pramot welcomed the cooperation announcement over rice prices, he warned that India still dominates the world market since it is the exporting country. Therefore, buying nations could turn to it if Thailand and Vietnam start selling the rice at much higher prices.