Major Asean rice-producers Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma plan to form an association to create a sustainable system for trading and production.
The plan was unveiled over the weekend following Cambodian leader Hun Sen's initiative at the Asean Summit in Cha-am in late February. It focuses on price stabilisation, food security in the region and rice development. It aims for price stability next year.
It comprises the five countries of the Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) and will set up an Acmecs Rice Traders Association.
For some years Thailand and Vietnam have cooperated to curb price-cutting in the export market through data exchange.
A rice trader association would resolve the issues of diluted price-cutting in the region and stabilise prices.
"It will create a supply chain in the region which will strengthen bargaining power in the world market," the source said.
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia have agreed in principle and plan talks with Cambodia and Burma during the Asean Economic Ministers Meeting, which ended Sunday.
Thailand may also co-invest with Kuwait to grow rice in Laos.
Laos suggested during the four-day Asean Economic Ministers Meeting in Bangkok that Thailand set up a company with Kuwait to cultivate paddy fields in the country. Now only 900,000 of Laos' 2 million hectares of agricultural land are farmed.
Kuwait had recently shown an interest in doing rice business in Laos, but Vientiane also wanted Thailand, which has specialised knowledge of rice planting technologies and markets, to be its partner, said Commerce Minister Porntiva's chief adviser Chaiya Yimwilai.
AsiaOne, 5 Asean countries get their act together, 16 August 2009, http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20090816-16...
Bangkok Post, Laos floats joint Thai-Kuwaiti Rice Investment Proposal, 16 August 2009, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/22125/laos-floats-joint-thai-kuwai...