Rice Mills asked to pay part of pledged value to farmers

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BANGKOK, 7 February 2014  The Ministry of Commerce asked rice mill owners yesterday, to provide 50-60% of the pledged value owed to rice growers, until the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) could pay the rice growers in full. 

The Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach, confirmed that the Thai Rice Mills Association had been asked to help provide the money to farmers. The amount would then be paid back to them by the farmers after the BAAC first becomes able to pay the farmers in full. The government will seek approval from the Election Commission to allocate 1.2 billion baht from the central budget to provide interest payments to the rice mills and farmers. If the rice mill owners agree to the proposal, the scheme is expected to be initiated within the month.

Manat Kitprasoet, president of the Thai Rice Mills Association, reportedly said the association does not object to the proposal, as it would help alleviate the plight of farmers. However, such a novel approach requires detailed deliberation and its implementation depended on the consent of each rice mill owner.

However, the Thai Rice Farmers Association President Prasit Bunchoei, has expressed a belief that the measure cannot be implemented. He reasoned that the caretaker government did not have the authority to make guarantees to the rice mills, regarding the money the mills would supply to rice farmers.