Rice secrecy has to go

Rice secrets finally released to public. 136 billion baht in losses for 2011-12 govt rice purchases. Raise income for poor farmers but without market distortions.

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AGRICULTURE

TCC takes aim at rice secrecy

Private sector urges transparent sales
20/06/2013
Phusadee Arunmas

Businesses are calling on the state to scrap secret sales of rice stocks and return to the common rice auction that generated much lower losses.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), yesterday said the government's existing selling practice has proved inefficient.

The government itself recently accepted it posted losses of 136 billion baht from rice pledging during the scheme's first year, as originally reported by a Finance Ministry panel.

The loss of 136 billion baht is based on all expenses in the rice pledging scheme in its first year - the 2011-12 crop year - including management costs, interest expense and the estimated value of remaining rice stocks.

The calculated price was based on the lowest market price on the closing date of Jan 31.

In the scheme's first year, the state spent 352 billion baht on 21.7 million tonnes of rice.

The value of the remaining rice stocks is estimated at 156 billion baht, while sales of pledged rice are estimated at 59.2 billion baht. Total losses are thus 136 billion baht.

The Rice Policy Committee has not put a figure on losses for the second year - the 2012-13 crop season - but the Finance Ministry panel estimated first-crop losses for the second year at 84 billion baht.

"We're gravely concerned about the rice pledging scheme, be it about the buying and selling figures, state rice stocks, actual profit/loss figures and potential future losses that are still kept confidential," said Mr Isara.

This ambiguity is shaking the confidence of the public and businesses and will eventually affect the country's credit rating and the cost of government and business borrowing.

He said the pledging price offered at a premium to market prices also weakens Thai rice exporters, while rice packers who want to develop their own brand in foreign markets are also less competitive.

The TCC fully agrees with the government's policy of raising income for poor farmers, only without market distortions, said Mr Isara.

It has suggested the state buy through the rice pledging scheme at market prices, allow only the harvest from the first crop to be pledged and limit the amount of participating rice per family based on cultivation area and average annual productivity.

Farmers in irrigated areas who can grow rice two or three times a year have relatively high productivity of 600-700 kilogrammes a rai, while those relying on annual rainfall produce about 400 kg per rai.

"In a sustainable move to help farmers, the government should earmark funding to promote production efficiency and reduce production costs, be it through procurement of water reservoirs, fertiliser, rain varieties or farmland consolidation," said Mr Isara.

The government should also pay more attention to rice zoning and clearly classify rice quality and rice varieties in each cultivation zone. More importantly, the release of rice stocks should be made transparent, open and competitive.

In related news, the TCC yesterday agreed to appoint vice-chairman Vichai Assarasakorn to head a panel that will closely monitor the rice pledging scheme.
Mr Vichai said the state's rice disposal is a key area of concern, as rice stocks will be subject to losses in terms of both quality and price if they are kept stockpiled for too long.

The government is also saddled with high costs from interest expense and management fees, he said.

"Secret selling and government-to-government deals are inefficient, as shown by the government selling only 59 billion baht worth of rice through such sales," said Mr Vichai.

(Source: Bangkok Post, AGRICULTURE, TCC takes aim at rice secrecy, Private sector urges transparent sales, 20/06/2013, Phusadee Arunmas, link


Rice Sector Vocabulary

sector - a part of a country's economy or business activity ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ
rice sector
private sector


aim - purpose; goal; the thing you hope to achieve by doing something เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
takes aim at
TCC takes aim at rice secrecy

transparent - public can see what is happening ( all parts visible to the public; no hidden or secret parts) โปร่งใส
transparent sales

urge - to request or ask strongly that something happen
private sector urges transparent sales

scrap
- to get rid of; to stop using or accepting เลิก, ทิ้ง
scrap secret sales of rice stocks

stocks - large amounts stored for future use
rice stocks

common - shared, used by many people ที่ร่วมกัน
auction - selling things by competitive bids, selling to the person who offers that best price การขายโดยการประมูล, การขายทอดตลาด (See Wikipedia)
the common rice auction

generated
- created
the common rice auction that generated much lower losses

calling on - asking someone to do something
state - government รัฐ
calling on the state to .. .

Businesses are calling on the state to scrap secret sales of rice stocks and return to the common rice auction that generated much lower losses.

practice - a way of doing something การปฏิบัติ
selling practice
existing selling practice

inefficient - not efficient (could produce more from the resources it has)
proved inefficient
existing selling practice has proved inefficient.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), yesterday said the government's existing selling practice has proved inefficient.

panel - a group of experts discussing a problem or trying to solve a problem
a Finance Ministry panel report

The government itself recently accepted it posted losses of 136 billion baht from rice pledging during the scheme's first year, as originally reported by a Finance Ministry panel.

scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
the rice pledging scheme

interest - payments made for the use of another's money for a period of time
interest expense

estimated value
of remaining rice stocks

calculated 
calculated price

The loss of 136 billion baht is based on all expenses in the rice pledging scheme in its first year - the 2011-12 crop year - including management costs, interest expense and the estimated value of remaining rice stocks. The calculated price was based on the lowest market price on the closing date of Jan 31.

spent - used, used money ใช้ไป

In the scheme's first year, the state spent 352 billion baht on 21.7 million tonnes of rice.

remaining
remaining rice stocks

pledged - seriously promised to do something สาบาน
pledged rice

The value of the remaining rice stocks is estimated at 156 billion baht, while sales of pledged rice are estimated at 59.2 billion baht. Total losses are thus 136 billion baht.

figure - an amount of money จำนวนเงิน
put a figure on losses

The Rice Policy Committee has not put a figure on losses for the second year - the 2012-13 crop season - but the Finance Ministry panel estimated first-crop losses for the second year at 84 billion baht.

concerned
- worried about something มีความกังวล
gravely concerned - very worried (about something very bad that has happened)
gravely concerned about the rice pledging scheme

figures
- statistics, numbers describing the economy
the buying and selling figures

state rice stocks - rice stored by government (after buying, before selling)

actual - real; existing in fact จริง
profit - money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid กำไร
actual profit/loss figures

potential - possible ความเป็นไปได้
potential future losses

confidential - private information that should be kept a secret ที่เป็นความลับ
keep confidential
potential future losses that are still kept confidential

"We're gravely concerned about the rice pledging scheme, be it about the buying and selling figures, state rice stocks, actual profit/loss figures and potential future losses that are still kept confidential," said Mr Isara.

ambiguity

confidence - the quality of being certain; trusting and believing in something; feel sure about something ความมั่นใจ ความเชื่อมั่น
this ambiguity is shaking the confidence of the public and businesses

credit - loans; money that you owe someone (a bill that grows until you pay it off at the end of the month, for example) เครดิต เงินกู้
credit rating
the country's
credit rating

eventually - at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
will eventually affect the country's credit rating

This ambiguity is shaking the confidence of the public and businesses and will eventually affect the country's credit rating and the cost of government and business borrowing.

premium - special features or service that you pay extra for
a premium to market prices - above market prices, with an extra amount added to the price
offered
at a premium to market prices

brand - a type of product made by a particular company ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
rice packers develop their own brand in foreign markets

competitive - involving competition มีการแข่งขัน
rice exporters are less competitive

He said the pledging price offered at a premium to market prices also weakens Thai rice exporters, while rice packers who want to develop their own brand in foreign markets are also less competitive.

policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes; a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
government policy
the government's policy of raising income for poor farmers

income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
raise income - increase the money that someone gets
raising
income of poor farmers

The TCC fully agrees with the government's policy of raising income for poor farmers, only without market distortions, said Mr Isara.




harvest - gathering fully grown crops from the field เก็บเกี่ยว การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
the harvest from the first crop

limit - a highest or lowest amount
limit the amount of participating rice per family

cultivation - growing plants
cultivation area

productivity - producing more for the same amount of resources (labour, capital, machines) การผลิตสินค้า

annual - happening once a year ประจำปี
average annual productivity.

It has suggested the state buy through the rice pledging scheme at market prices, allow only the harvest from the first crop to be pledged and limit the amount of participating rice per family based on cultivation area and average annual productivity.

irrigate - bring water to fields of farmers (togive water to their crops to help them grow) ทดน้ำ กั้นน้ำ ทำให้น้ำท่วมท้นขึ้นมาด้วยทำนบ
irrigated areas

relatively - high when compared to other things (but not very high) โดยเปรียบเทียบกับสิ่งอื่น
relatively high

relatively high productivity
farmers with a relatively high productivity of 600-700 kilogrammes a rai

Farmers in irrigated areas who can grow rice two or three times a year have relatively high productivity of 600-700 kilogrammes a rai, while those relying on annual rainfall produce about 400 kg per rai.

sustainable - can be continued for long periods of time, without being forced to stop แบบยั่งยืน ที่ดำเนินต่อไป
move - action

a sustainable move - an action that can continue for a long time into the future
a sustainable move to help farmers

promote - to move someone to a job at a higher level เลื่อนตำแหน่ง

efficiency
- doing a task well without wasting time, money, resources การทำงานอย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ คุ้มค่าเวลาและใช้พลังงานหรือต้นทุนในการผลิตน้อย เพื่อให้ได้ผลผลิตมาก
production efficiency

earmark - to keep or intend something for a particular purpose
funding - money to a program so it can operate or to support a project  การให้เงินสนับสนุน
earmark funding to promote production efficiency

procurement - official process of buying supplies for an organisation การจัดซื้อ
water reservoirs  - an artificial man-made lake or pond to keep water in อ่างเก็บน้ำ, บ่อเก็บน้ำ

fertiliser - chemicals given to plants to help them grow ปุ๋ย (See Wikipedia)
rain varieties - specially bred rice that can still live in high flood waters

procurement of water reservoirs, fertiliser, rain varieties

consolidation - joining separate things into one unified whole
farmland consolidation

In a sustainable move to help farmers, the government should earmark funding to promote production efficiency and reduce production costs, be it through procurement of water reservoirs, fertiliser, rain varieties or farmland consolidation.

zoning - diving an area into smaller areas, each with a specialised use (for example, this part of town is zoned as a commercial area with shops, that area of town as a residential area with homes) การแบ่งโซน  local laws and regulations about how a piece of land can be used
rice zoning

cultivation - the growing of plants การทำฟาร์ม, เพาะปลูก, การใช้ที่ดินเพาะปลูกพืชต่างๆ รวมทั้งการเลี้ยงสัตว์ การประมง และการทำป่าไม้
cultivation zone - an area where plants are grown

classify - to divide things into groups according to their type จัดประเภท
classify rice quality and rice varieties in each cultivation zone

release - to allow to go free ปล่อย to set someone or something free ปล่อยเป็นอิสระ
release of rice stocks
the release of rice stocks should be made transparent, open and competitive.

The government should also pay more attention to rice zoning and clearly classify rice quality and rice varieties in each cultivation zone. More importantly, the release of rice stocks should be made transparent, open and competitive.

head a panel - to supervise and lead a group of people in a panel

appoint - to choose someone officially for a job or responsibility แต่งตั้ง,ตั้งให้เป็น
to appoint someone to head a panel

monitor - watch closely what is going on (checking for problems); keep track of ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต  to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา

In related news, the TCC yesterday agreed to appoint vice-chairman Vichai Assarasakorn to head a panel that will closely monitor the rice pledging scheme.
disposal - getting rid of something การกำจัด
the state's rice disposal 

key - important คนสำคัญ
concern - a worry ความกังวล
a key area of concern

the state's rice disposal is a key area of concern

subject to
... - have something bad happen to them ... 
subject to losses

in terms of - as measured by
subject to losses in terms of both quality and price

Mr Vichai said the state's rice disposal is a key area of concern, as rice stocks will be subject to losses in terms of both quality and price if they are kept stockpiled for too long.

saddled with -
have an obligation..., to have something you must do (that is not nice to do)... 
saddled with high costs

fees - money that you pay to be allowed to do something ค่าธรรมเนียม
management fees

The government is also saddled with high costs from interest expense and management fees, he said

Secret selling and government-to-government deals are inefficient, as shown by the government selling only 59 billion baht worth of rice through such sales.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer