22 June 2000
Thai silo plan a &#145:vote-catcher’

PLANS by the Thai government to spent $297 million on 66 rice silos and a warehouse have come under attack from critics, reports the Financial Times.

The government claims that giving farmers a place to store their paddy will increase their bargaining power, prevent oversupply and increase prices.

But opponents say the initiative is a pre-election ploy to gain farmers support and doubt producers would be willing to incur extra storage and transportation costs.

Thailand was the worlds biggest rice exporter last year.

Meanwhile, the worlds biggest jute producers, India and Bangladesh, forecast a bumper crop for 2000-2001 following favourable weather, reports the FT.

Indias crop may be up at least 1.2m 180kg bales, to 10m. and Bangladesh is expected to harvest 5m bales — up 1.5m bales on 1999-2000.