BAAC asserts it has adequate loans for rice pledging scheme

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BANGKOK, Nov 29 – Thailand’s only state bank for farmers stood firm today that it is financially sound and has sufficient funds to fulfill the government’s rice pledging scheme through the new harvest despite a required fresh loan of Bt240 billion.

Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) deputy manager Boonthai Kaewkanti said the bank has reserved a special fund for the purchase of paddy stocks, targeted at 15 million tonnes in the 2012-2013 harvest, while the government will pay back its loans from its sales of rice from the previous year.

Farmers have gradually transported their paddy to be sold at various locations established by the government under the rice pledging scheme, he said, adding that the latest trading volume was reportedly at more than 1 million tonnes.

Nakhon Phanom Governor Anukul Tangkananukulchai said drought has lately affected the quality of rice sold to the government under the scheme, compelling farmers to release their produce at lower price. The government sets a pledging price of Bt15,000-20,000 per tonne.

In Buri Ram province, the provincial rice monitoring committee has asked the Internal Trade Department to set up 10 more rice purchasing sites to facilitate farmers in remote areas.