Govt to start paying farmers for rice scheme on Monday

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BANGKOK, Feb 16 – Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn today reaffirmed that the government tomorrow will begin distributing Bt4 billion per day to farmers for the overdue payment on the rice pledging scheme.

Mr Niwatthamrong, also commerce minister, said that the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will start paying the overdue rice payments to farmers who participated in the first round of the rice pledging scheme for 2013-2014.

He said the government has collected more than ten billion baht from several financial sources including loans and rice sales themselves.

He said every BAAC branch will make payments through the farmers’ bank accounts, adding that those who joined the rice pledging scheme first will receive payment first.

The minister said the BAAC will be able to distribute the overdue payment at about Bt4 billion per day, and urged farmers not to come to demonstrate in Bangkok.

Mr Niwatthamrong added that the ministry expects to sell all 460,000 tonnes of rice from the subsidy scheme after it opened the auction last week.

He said almost 200,000 tonnes of rice will be additionally sold to foreign buyers who have made direct purchase orders with the ministry.

Overall, the ministry will make about Bt7 billion of income, plus another 220,000 tonnes sold in the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand last Thursday.

He said the announcement of all rice purchases is expected to be revealed on Monday.