Farmers threaten to occupy all rice warehouses after talks with Govt fail

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BANGKOK, 10 February 2014  The negotiation between farmer protesters and the government has ended with a walkout after representatives of the government failed to give a clear date when it will pay farmers in the rice support program. 

During the protesters’ meeting with the government officials on Monday, Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan said the government had continuously paid rice farmers over the past six months but payments had been delayed after that due to the dissolution of parliament. The caretaker government had asked for loans from commercial banks but it had been turned down, he said.

The minister said he would request the Cabinet meeting this Tuesday to approve central budget worth 712 million baht to pay the farmers.

The protesters showed contempt for the minister’s explanation and criticized the government for its lack of preparations before the house was dissolved. They walked out of the meeting in protest.

After the meeting, Chairman of the Northern Farmers’ Network Kittisak Rattanawaraha announced that the farmer protesters would occupy all rice warehouses across the country starting with the North from 10 February onward.