Northeastern farmers plan road blockade to demand payment from govt


NAKHON RATCHSIMA, Jan 25 –Twenty farmer organisations in Thailand’s Northeast have threatened to block a highway in the province to press the government to resign if it fails to pay them for their rice they sold under the rice pledging programme.

Prapas Chompakliang, core leader of the network, set today as the deadline for payment and said they would close Mitraphap Highway at Lamtakong section in Sikhio district on Monday if the government refuses to pay them.

He said farmers will also escalate their protest to remove caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, adding that their protest is not politically motivated.

In Ubon Ratchthani province, deputy governor Suraphan Dissaman and Suthai Chakanand, deputy director of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, met with about 400 farmers from four districts who rallied at the provincial hall, and promised to pay farmers for their rice once financial allocation was granted from the government.

The farmers threatened to close Pibulmangsaharn-Chong Mek Road to block traffic and border transport if they did not receive payment before the end of this month.

In the central rice-farming province of Ayuthaya, Vichien Puanglamchiak, leader of the Thai Farmers Association, said farmers are in financial trouble and badly need payment for the rice they sold to the government under the rice subsidy scheme.

He said the government should find measures to assist farmers while they wait for payment for their rice.