Agriculture bank approves aid fund for farmers

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BANGKOK, Feb 28 – The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will set up an assistance fund to generate financial contributions for farmers, according to caretaker Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lek-uthai.

He said BAAC regulations did not prohibit such a fund which will accept financial assistance for farmers who have been waiting for payment from the rice pledging scheme.

He said people could donate or lend to the fund so that the BAAC could spend the money for overdue payments to farmers.

Farmers who joined the state’s rice subsidies have been awaiting payment for their rice since September.

Mr Tanusak said several state enterprises were keen on yesterday’s bidding for the Finance Ministry’s promissory notes at a total of Bt20 billion at eight-month maturity.

The Finance Ministry planned to spend money from the promissory notes to pay farmers.

An informed source said receipts were issued to farmers for 10.97 million tonnes of rice from the 2013/2014 crop, totaling Bt181 billion, as of Feb 16.

The BAAC has already paid Bt69 billion to farmers while the Commerce Ministry has tendered rice through the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand.

The Commerce Ministry paid Bt10 billion and Bt8 billion to the BAAC in January and February respectively.