Farmers head for Bangkok to demand overdue payments


RATCHABURI, Feb 5 – Farmers from Thailand’s southwestern region are planning to demonstrate in Bangkok to pressure the caretaker government to take responsibility to pay for the rice the farmers sold under the rice pledging scheme.

Farmers have blockaded Rama II Road at Wang Manao sub-district, Km 83-84, since Saturday to express their plight in light of the government’s failure to pay the debts.

Prasit Boonchouy, president of the Thai Farmers Association, said he would coordinate with farmers in the North and Northeast to join the rally at the Commerce Ministry.

He asked each farmer to bring five eggs as “weapons” to pressure the government and wear blue “Mo Hom” shirts as a  symbolic colour.

Another group of vegetable farmers, led by Songpol Pumra, submitted a letter to Ratchaburi governor Nisit Chansomwong, asking the authorities to end the road blockade to allow transport of agricultural produce to the South.

He said about 5,000 tonnes of vegetables are sent to the South via Rama II Road daily.

The governor said Phetchkasem, another road linking Bangkok and the South, has been reopened and told farmers to use the route instead.