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Phumtham Wechayachai Tackles Global Concerns Over Thailand’s Aged Rice Plan: A Diplomatic and Culinary Journey

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Imagine this: Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, decked out in a striking yellow ensemble, surrounded by other officials in Surin province, diving into a feast of rice that’s not just any rice – but rice that’s been aging gracefully for a decade. This unusual feast wasn’t just a quirky culinary experiment but a bold statement: this rice, a relic from the days of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration’s ambitious rice-pledging scheme, is not just edible, but delicious.

But here’s where the plot thickens – this very rice has become the star of an international tête-à-tête, sparking dialogues that stretch across continents. The Foreign Ministry of Thailand is gearing up for a series of crucial meetings with diplomats from African nations, all due to swirling reports that Thailand has grand plans to sell off 15,000 tonnes of this aged rice, which some skeptics have been quick to label as questionable in quality.

Phumtham Wechayachai, also doubling as the Deputy Prime Minister, stepped into the fray, aiming to dispel the swirling cloud of suspicion. He highlighted that this move to auction the old rice stocks has raised eyebrows simply because naysayers have cast doubts over the quality and safety of the rice – doubts that, according to him, hold no grain of truth, as lab tests have vigorously affirmed the rice’s safety for consumption. But wait, there’s more. Concerns have not just been whispered in the local markets but have reached the ears of African envoys stationed in Thailand, prompting the Foreign Ministry to prepare for a diplomatic dance, aiming to clarify facts and soothe concerns.

The tale of the controversial rice doesn’t end here. It’s important to note that Thailand treats its rice exports with the utmost seriousness. Every shipment destined for foreign shores is meticulously inspected to meet the stringent standards set by the Department of Foreign Trade. This is the kind of rigorous scrutiny that ensures only the finest grains make their global journey.

Enter the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO), the custodian of these aged rice treasures. They’ve laid out a plan to auction off 15,000 tonnes of this rice, a plan that’s stirred a pot of intrigue and concern among observers and stakeholders. The rice, stored in two warehouses – the bespoken Kittichai and the famed Phoonpol Trading – awaits its next chapter. The PWO has charted out a detailed itinerary for the auction process, from the announcement of terms to the grand auction day slated for June 17th. Potential bidders are given the golden opportunity to inspect the rice, a move that underscores transparency and builds confidence.

But why is this rice, a decade old, now sailing towards the shores of African nations? The keystone of this international discourse was placed by none other than, which cast the spotlight on concerns voiced by African diplomats. They ponder, why this ancient grain is set to travel across the seas, making its way to Africa, when it could very well find a market at home. This narrative, originating from the Kenya-based Nation news website and picked up by the Isra news centre in Bangkok, shines a light on a fascinating cross-continental dialogue about food safety, international trade, and the journey of a grain of rice that’s waited ten years to tell its tale.

As this saga unfolds, it’s clear that this is more than just about rice. It’s a narrative steeped in diplomacy, international relations, and the unwavering quality of Thai rice that stands the test of time – and taste. So, as Phumtham Wechayachai and the Thai government navigate these diplomatic waters, the world waits with bated breath – and perhaps, a spoon in hand – to see where this grain of controversy will lead.


  1. RiceLover May 27, 2024

    Honestly, this feels like a publicity stunt more than anything. Aged rice being delicious is one thing, but claiming it’s all for diplomatic gestures? Come on.

    • GreenHarvest May 27, 2024

      Publicity stunt or not, it’s clever. Gets people talking about Thai rice again, and if it’s as good as they say, why not?

      • RiceLover May 27, 2024

        Sure, it gets people talking, but at what cost? Misleading people that aged rice might be a premium product could backfire.

      • Sceptic101 May 27, 2024

        Totally agree with RiceLover. It’s one thing to innovate, another to just rebrand something old as new without real added value.

    • CulinaryExplorer May 27, 2024

      Aged rice is a thing in many cultures, just like cheese or wine. It’s about time we start appreciating these traditions instead of dismissing them.

  2. PolicyNerd May 27, 2024

    The real issue isn’t the rice’s edibility but the diplomatic implications of selling potentially low-quality rice to other nations. It’s a matter of reputation.

    • DiplomaticDove May 27, 2024

      Absolutely. This could either strengthen ties by showing trust in Thai agricultural standards or backfire dramatically if the rice is below par.

  3. ConcernedCitizen May 27, 2024

    I’m just worried about the safety of consuming such old rice. If it’s been stored properly, fine, but we all know storage conditions can vary.

    • FoodSafetyGuy May 27, 2024

      According to the article, rigorous lab tests have confirmed its safety. It’s interesting to see how science supports ancient food preservation techniques.

  4. GlobalMarketWatcher May 27, 2024

    This move could either be a masterstroke or a disaster for Thailand’s rice export reputation. The attention it’s getting is undeniable, though.

    • AgriCult May 27, 2024

      Exactly, it’s all about how well this rice holds up in international markets. Could be a big win for Thai rice credibility.

  5. TraditionHolder May 27, 2024

    I feel this is a beautiful effort to bring traditional and aged foods into the spotlight. Other cultures should take note.

  6. SkepticalScientist May 27, 2024

    Lab tests or not, selling off old stock to clear warehouses under the guise of a culinary delicacy raises ethical questions. Who benefits most?

  7. EcoWarrior May 27, 2024

    This could be seen as an effective way to reduce waste. Rather than disposing of the rice, why not test if it’s still viable and then sell it?

    • Realist123 May 28, 2024

      Reducing waste is one thing, but at what point does it become dumping potentially problematic products on others?

  8. AgroReporter May 28, 2024

    Fascinating to see how traditional practices and modern testing methods converge in this story. It’s a unique blend of the old and new world.

  9. EconomyWatcher May 28, 2024

    Wonder how this will affect the global rice market. Could set precedent for other countries with surplus old grains.

  10. HistoryBuff May 28, 2024

    The rice itself is like a living archive, carrying a decade of Thai agricultural history. So much more than just food.

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