Phetchabun farmers block road to demand rice mortgage payment

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PHETCHABUN, 17 January 2014 Around 300 farmers in Phetchabun on Thursday blocked traffic on Suksacharoen Rd. in Phetchabun City Municipality to demand payment for mortgaged rice. 

Leaders of the group were observed criticizing the government’s handling of the rice mortgage scheme payout, amplified via loudspeakers on a truck. The protesters demanded that provincial authorities come and meet them.

Later, Deputy Phetchabun Governor Suchat Ratdussadi met with the farmers but was unable to give them clear answers to their demands, as the rice mortgage payout was a ‘matter at the policy level’.

Phetchabun Governor Wichien Chantharanothai later arrived and talked with the protesters, telling them the provincial administration sympathized with their plights but the matter at hand was a policy-level issue, and the provincial administration had been reporting the farmers’ troubles to the government.

21,388 farmers participated in the round of rice mortgage in question. Only 694 million baht out of 2.77 billion baht had been paid out so far, leaving 18,016 farmers waiting for 2.08 billion baht.