UPDATE 1-Thailand sells 730,000 tonnes of rice from stocks to exporters - commerce minister

Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:52pm EDT

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BANGKOK, March 13 (Reuters) - Thailand has approved the sale of 730,000 tonnes of rice from state warehouses to exporters, the commerce minister said on Thursday.

That was above the 517,000 tonnes it aimed to sell in a tender held early this week.

"The rice is worth about 9 billion baht and we aim to sell more to get money to pay farmers," Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan told reporters, referring to payments under a rice-subsidy scheme.

He said 180,000 tonnes were sold to exporters via the tender, while another 550,000 tonnes were sold to exporters who had overseas orders and were seeking rice for deliveries.

The Commerce Ministry is trying to pay angry farmers who sold rice to the government through the rice-subsidy scheme but have not been paid.

Some farmers have been protesting for their money for days in front of the Commerce Ministry. (Reporting by Apornrath Phoonphongphiphat; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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