Commerce Ministry confirms it has enough fund for rice mortgage scheme


BANGKOK, 9 Jan 2014 The Commerce Ministry has reaffirmed that it has enough fund for the rice pledging scheme, expecting to make the payments to all participating farmers in the 2013/2014 season by January 25th. 

The Ministry is expecting the farmers to pledge 10 million tons of rice in the current production season. Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan stated that the amount would need 140 billion baht in compensation, adding that the ministry already paid 30 billion baht to the farmers, leaving 77 billion baht in payment pending. He expected that the payments would be completed within January 25th.

Nonetheless the scheme still lacks 40 billion baht, and the Commerce Ministry will urgently ask the Election Commission (EC) to approve its planned borrowing of 130 billion baht to finance the scheme. He said that even if the EC does not give the nod on the matter, the Commerce Ministry is still able to use the money obtained from selling the pledged rice to be returned to the farmers.

Meanwhile, the EC has approved the ministry’s request to sell the pledged rice in stock by any means it deems appropriate. The Commerce Ministry, thus, has plans to clear the stock through both auctioning and Government-to-Government deals. It expects to sell another 500,000 tons of rice in the new release.