Rice pledging scheme relaunch set for April 1

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PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, March 18 – A new round of the rice subsidy which will cost the government Bt105 billion will be kicked off on April 1 if approved by the cabinet tomorrow, the manager of the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) said today.

Lak Vajananawat said the plan will involve the purchase of seven million tonnes of rice from this year’s second harvest.

The Commerce Ministry has gradually sold rice from the government’s stockpiles and paid Bt75 billion to the BAAC to be used as a circulating fund for the new crop.

The Foreign Trade Department has forecast a cash return totalling Bt220 billion to the BAAC within this year, he said.

“The BAAC has emphasised that the rice quality must meet the market demand. The government has made it clear that it will not buy rice which has matured less than 90 days which is low in quality,” he said.