Cabinet rejects new Bt405 billion rice pledging scheme

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BANGKOK, Sept 19 – A proposal for a new round of rice pledging scheme for the 2012/2013 fiscal year which will cost the government Bt405 billion was rejected by the cabinet which openly expressed concern that it will plunge Thailand into heavy indebtedness.

According to government spokeswoman Sansanee Nakpong, the cabinet assigned the finance ministry, commerce ministry, agriculture ministry and budget bureau to re-evaluate the volume of rice to be pledged with the government. The revision must be sent back to the cabinet for approval.

Under the initial proposal, the Bt405 billion budget to pledge 26 million tonnes of paddy will be broken down into Bt240 billion for the yearly (annual) paddy crop, and Bt165 billion for

second-crop paddy. Jasmine rice will be pledged at Bt20,000 per tonne and paddy at Bt15,000 per tonne—the same prices as the previous year.

The cabinet, however, approved additional pledging of second-crop paddy in 2012 from 11.11 million tonnes to 13.31 million tonnes to help farmers who were hit by last year’s floods. The farmers had to resort to the second farming and harvest after floods receded.

The cabinet also approved an agriculture ministry’s rubber intervention proposal by paying Bt30 billion to purchase 300,000 tonnes of rubber from planters between Oct 1 this year2 and March 31, 2013. The first allocation of Bt5 billion will be granted.