BANGKOK 7 February 2014 The Commerce Minister has brushed aside claims that the Ministry has been six months late in its payments to farmers participating in the rice pledging scheme.
According to Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, farmers who pledged their rice during the month of October of 2013 have already been paid. However, he admitted that payments for November through January are still outstanding. Based on the information, the ministry is only two months behand in its payments, not four as claimed.
About 3,000 farmers from Uthai Thani, Prajinburi, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, and Petchburi, who pledged their rice during July – September 2013 have not yet been paid. The Commerce Minister pointed out that it needed a nod from the Cabinet and the Election Commission (EC) to secure loans to pay the overdue payment.
In regard to the farmer’s protest situation at the Commerce Ministry, the Minister said he had tasked the Deputy Commerce Minister with resolving the issue with the farmers as soon as possible. As for those who wish to get their back instead of payment, the government is willing to comply with the request if it makes the farmers happy.