Reduction of rice pledging price sparks farmers’ protests

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BANGKOK, June 20 – Thai farmers are up in arms over the government’s decision to reduce the rice pledging price by Bt3,000 per tonne and vowed today to submit a letter of protest to the prime minister.

Wichian Puanglamchiak, Thai Farmers Association leader, said he was discussing with the Thai Farmers Promotion Association to jointly show their strong disagreement to the resolution of the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) to slash pledging price for paddy from Bt15,000 per tonne to Bt12,000 per tonne and restrict the purchase ceiling at Bt500,000 per household for the 2013 second harvest.

The government’s plan to further lower the subsidy for the next harvest season is also unacceptable as current production cost is as high as Bt9,000-10,000 per tonne, he said.

He claimed that 93.7 per cent of farmers benefitted from the pledging programme which has helped stimulate the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Prachin Buri Governor Chitra Promchutima called a meeting with provincial agencies and rice traders to explain the government’s need to reduce the rice pledging price.

In Kanchanaburi province, farmers from five districts rallied at the provincial hall to demand the government buy rice from them at Bt15,000 per tonne until September 15 while those in Sukhothai and Phitsanulok provinces said they will gather tomorrow to jointly submit a letter of protest to the prime minister.