Northeastern rice farmers threaten to close Mittraphap highway next week


BANGKOK, 16 February 2014  The Assembly of Small-Scale Farmers of 20 northeastern provinces has announced that it will close Mittraphap highway on 25 February 2014 following overdue payments to rice farmers participating in the rice support program. 

The assembly said on Sunday that it opposed loans borrowed by the government from financial institutions to pay the farmers. It said the government had misused more than 600 billion baht previously allocated for payments in the rice support scheme and the loans would also create obligations for the next government. The assembly demanded that the government clarify the lost fund and urgently pay the farmers with money from other sources.

If the government was still vague about how it would find money to pay the farmers, the assembly’s members would on 25 February converge on Mittraphab highway in Nakhon Ratchasima and block it. More than 10,000 farmers were expected to rally there, the assembly said.