Central farmers blame govt for overlooking their plight

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AYUTTHAYA, Sept 18 – Farmers in the Central region have charged the government with ignoring their problem of deteriorating paddy prices and their request to extend the rice pledging programme.

Vichien Puanglamjiak, president of the Thai Farmers Association, said the government was insincere to farmers after it decided to postpone the mobile Cabinet meeting indefinitely.’

The meeting was originally scheduled in the central province of Lopburi on Thursday and Friday.

He said farmers’ request to extend the rice purchasing scheme to the end of this month has fallen onto deaf ears, creating dissatisfaction among farmers who threatened to seal off roads to block traffic – following the way done by rubber growers in southern Thailand.

The government has pledged paddy price at Bt15,000/tonne but rice traders would not buy paddy at higher than Bt7,000/tonne, he said.

In the rice-planting province of Ayutthaya, an official report says 228,883 tonnes of rice in the second crop would be harvested this month but farmers would manage to sell only 145,750 tonnes within the deadline of the rice pledging programme.