Permanent Secretary for Commerce Watchari Wimuktayont said on Monday that a total of 320 billion baht would be set aside for the rice pledging scheme for the 2012/2013 crop year. Of that amount, 200 billion baht would be for the annual rice crops, and 100 billion baht for the out-of-season rice crops. However, Ms Watchari said the scheme might need no more than 300 billion baht in budget this year as severe droughts in many areas were expected to cause the dry-season rice crops to drop to 6 million tons of paddy, compared to 14 million tons last year.
According to Ms Watchari, of the total budget set aside for the 2012/2013 rice pledging scheme, 140 million baht will come from the Public Debt Management Office and the rest from sales of rice outputs from the previous production year. By the end of September 2013, the government expects 180 billion baht in rice sales. The Permanent Secretary confirmed there would be sufficient money for a new round of rice pledging.