Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong today allayed concerns among farmers nationwide on the government’s rice subsidy, reaffirming that the pledging price of Bt15,000 per tonne of rice will be left intact.
Farmers in this rice-cultivating province vowed to invade Bangkok on Monday to protest a reported move by the Commerce Ministry to reduce the paddy subsidy under the rice pledging scheme.
Vichien Puanglamchiak, president of the Thai Farmers and Agriculturists Association, said the not-yet-announced decision to lower the rice pledge level from Bt15,000 per tonne to Bt13,000 per tonne will severely affect farmers.
He said farmers in over 40 rice-planting provinces objected to the Commerce Ministry’s plan and they will petition Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday, asking her to review the decision.
Narong Mongkolvej, a 40-year-old farmer in Ayutthaya, said farmers nationwide will suffer from the lower subsidy and that farmers have stopped planting rice for the second and third harvests due to the irregular water supply.
“We can plant rice only once a year. The government should review its plan on lower subsidy,” he said.
A senior Commerce Ministry official today denied a report that the ministry was considering slashing the rice subsidy in the near future. The official said a decision must be made by the National Rice Policy Committee which is scheduled to meet in mid-March. (MCOT online news)