Monday, September 15, 2008

What Lies between Dili and Bangkok? A Sea of Rice. Worth $103 200 000?

This is a story about what appears to be a very quiet Bangkok-Dili rice deal for $25 800 000-$103 200 000.

Timor is suffering from too little of something and too much of something - in this case rice. Everywhere you go there is rice. Rice here, rice there, rice seemingly everywhere. Some at 16.50 a bag some at much more. In any event it is all about rice. Keep people content with full bellies. "Rice and Circuses" one pundit has noted.

A senior Minister of the Government of Timor-Leste flew back and forth between Timor and Europe in mid August at the time in question. Read below in blue....

Tuesday August 19, 2008


New support for rice prices


The government plans to begin another rice-pledging scheme in November for the main paddy crop in a bid to shore up domestic rice prices.

Commerce Minister Chaiya Sasomsab said the pledging price would be no less than the 14,000 baht per tonne offered currently for second-crop paddy.

Mr Chaiya said earlier that the price could be as high as 15,000 baht a tonne for regular paddy and 19,000 baht for jasmine rice paddy.

However, exporters warned that proposed higher prices might affect export competitiveness, given the high price gap between Thai rice and rice from other countries.

The government bought 1.2 million tonnes of paddy _ equivalent to around 720,000 tonnes of milled rice _ from farmers under a buying scheme for the second crop that started on June 15. Purchases are due to end on Sept 30.

Mr Chaiya also said that the government was confident it could clear the entire 2.1 million tonnes of rice in its old stockpile, and another 1.2 million tonnes bought from the latest pledging scheme.

The government yesterday agreed to sell 120,000 tonnes of 15% white rice to Timor-Leste. Thailand will deliver the first lot of 30,000 tonnes under a government-to-government deal at $860 per tonne, with the remainder to be handled by private exporters.

Last week, the government signed a letter of intent to sell 100,000 tonnes of 25% white rice a year via private exporters under a three-year contract with Djibouti.


120 000 x $860 = $103 200 000!

This would make it the largest purchase (or eries of purchases in modern Timorese history....

Who signed the MOU with who? Where is a copy? What does it say? Was it a good price? What are terms of payment? What are terms of delivery? In what manner will the 90 000 tons to be privately handled actually be "handled"?