Source: Vientiane Times
The government has approved the sale of 2,000 tonnes of stockpiled rice to bring down the high market price after a shortage of supply meant the price of rice rose by over 20 percent above normal.
The move is aimed at cutting costs for consumers and easing the hardship of people on low and medium level incomes.
The Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department has directed the Khamphaengphet Chaengsavang Agriculture Promotion Co., Ltd. to sell the 2,000 tonnes of rice after the government and the company signed a contract to that effect.
Polished Grade B sticky rice is on sale at five locations in Vientiane for 6,500 kip per kg, from September 23-30. This price is 2,000 kip per kg less than the current market price.
The rice is on sale at the Talat Xaoban Sa-ard (Village Clean Market) in Dongkhamxang village, Hadxaifong district, the Vientiane Foodstuff State Enterprise in Sihom village, Chanthabouly district, and at Lao-ITECC.
It can also be purchased at the Aussie Lao fresh market in Nongtaeng village, Sikhonttabong district, and at the Ms Chanpheng rice mill in Nasiew village, Naxaithong district.
The stockpiled rice has been funded by the government which has provided 10 billion kip to the Khamphaengphet Chaengsavang Agriculture Promotion Co., Ltd. since 2015. The scheme encouraged farmers to grow rice which the company then bought under the two-plus-three system.
The government regularly stockpiles rice and has supplies available every year which can be put on sale when the market price of the staple becomes unacceptably high. This year, the price of polished sticky rice rose to an abnormally high level after a prolonged dry season followed by widespread flooding, meaning that rice yields were below the set target.
From January to June, the price of rice in Vientiane, mainly paddy sticky rice, rose by 3,425-3,500 kip per kg and the price of polished Grade B sticky rice by 6,335-7,000 kip per kg, according to the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department.
From the end of June to September, the price of rice increased further to about 4,350 kip per kg for paddy sticky rice in the second week of September. Compared to June this was an increase of 1,500 kip or 24.28 percent, the Director of the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department Director, Mr Berlin Phetchantharath, told the media.
The release of stockpiled rice is authorised by the Decree on the Management of Goods Price and Services No. 474/PM, dated November 18, 2010. The decree followed the appointment of a steering committee on the management of goods price and services in Vientiane.
Rice is one of the items on the list of products managed by the government, which serves to mitigate harmful impacts on the cost of living and socio-economic development.
The government can approve the release of stockpiled rice to bring down the market price when it rises 20 percent above the normal rate. Consumers and traders around the country have concerns that rice yields this year may not meet market demand after crops were affected by weather extremes.