Farmers back govt bonds to raise money for rice payments

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The Thai Farmers and Growers Association (TFGA) has give its support to the government’s move to issue bonds to raise funds for overdue payments to farmers from the rice pledging scheme.

The farmers from the central region also called on the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) not to disrupt the issuance of state bonds, proposed last week by the Finance Ministry.

TFGA leader Wichian Phuanglamchiak said farmers wanted nothing but money for their rice but the PDRC and its network have obstructed government attempts to secure money from any channel.

“From what the PDRC has done, how can it say it is helping farmers?” he asked.

He said protesters should stop using farmers as political hostages and the PDRC should focus on other issues instead of barring rice payments, if it wanted to oust the government.

Since rice subsidies for paddy in the 2013/2014 crop will end on Feb 28, rice millers have pushed the paddy price down to only Bt6,000 per tonne, and the price will plummet after this month, he said.

Mr Wichian described as nothing new a proposal by Phra Buddha Issara, a PDRC core leader, to set up a rice farmer council to protect farmers and look into their welfare, saying the council will create rifts among Thai planters.

“Thailand has had a grower council, represented by growers in every field. A rice farmer council will create privilege to rice growers in the eye of planters of other crops such as sugarcane, rubber, corn and tapioca,” he said.