Source: Vientiane Times
Authorities in Vientiane have set the maximum rates of rice to protect consumers and ensure price stability amid the economic crisis because of natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Industry and Commerce Department announced that farmers should sell their paddy sticky rice for 3,600 kip a kg and rice mills or warehouses for 3,900 kip a kg.
The wholesale price of grade B polished rice sent to markets has been fixed at 6,800 kip a kg and the retail price in markets should not be above 7,400 kip.
As rice crops crop severely affected by natural disasters in recent years, the yields have not matched the targets set by authorities.
The authorities are also concerned that traders could take advantage of any shortage of rice in the markets by raising the prices. The Department’s announcement will be referred to by local authorities while monitoring the rice prices.
Currently, wet season rice is being planted and the prices of rice have been rising for the last few weeks, Ms Sai, a rice vendor in Vientiane, told Vientiane Times last week.
The price of paddy rice in Vientiane is currently around 3,500 kip to 5,000 kip a kg, and polished rice, both grade A and B, sells for 7,500 kip to 10,000 kip a kg, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Last year, the government, especially Vientiane’s Industry and Commerce Department, approved the sale of 2,000 tonnes of rice from stockpiles to bring down the high prices in markets after a shortage of supply.
The action was aimed at cutting costs for consumers and easing the hardship of people with low and medium level incomes.
The government regularly stockpiles rice and has supplies available every year, which can be put on sale when the market prices of the staple become unacceptably high.
Last year, the price of polished sticky rice rose to an abnormally high level after a prolonged dry season followed by widespread flooding, which resulted in rice yields being below the set target.
From January to June in 2019, the prices of rice in Vientiane, mainly sticky rice, rose by 3,425 kip to 3,500 kip per kg and the price of polished Grade B sticky rice by 6,335 kip to 7,000 kip per kg.
From the end of June to September, the price of rice increased further to about 4,350 kip per kg for sticky rice in the second week of September. Compared to June, this was an increase of 1,500 kip or 24.28 percent, the Vientiane