Commerce Ministry: A Rice Farmers Bank can be established if without political interference

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BANGKOK, 20 Feb 2014  Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Yanyong Phuangrach revealed it is possible to establish a bank that would handle financial affairs of rice farmers provided that there is no political interference. 

The establishment of a Thai Rice Farmers Bank was one of the 3 suggestions made at a meeting of the Thai Agriculturist Association, the Commerce Ministry, and the Thai Rice Mills Association, in their move to aid farmers suffering from delayed payment under the government’s rice pledging scheme.

Another suggestion made by rice farmers involves a call for members of the public to transfer their savings from other banks to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives for use in supporting farmers. The third proposal is to initiate a Thai Rice Farmers Fund.

The Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister said that the government would conduct a feasibility study on the proposed fund. He said one way to achieve the fund was to allocate premiums collected from rice mills upon their exporting rice. If the plan came to fruition, it would possibly compile more than one billion baht for the proposed fund, he stated.

Currently, several funds have been established to assist farmers such as the Rubber Aid Fund, the Cane & Sugar Fund, and the Para Rubber Fund. However, no funds have been made to particularly assist rice farmers.