BANGKOK, July 1 – The National Rice Policy Committee acted today to maintain the pledge price of 100 per cent paddy rice at Bt15,000 per tonne until Sept 15, reversing its earlier decision to slash the pledge price from Bt15,000 to Bt12,000.
Following the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong disclosed the committee’s decision in his capacity as chairman of the committee.
The purchase limit per household must not exceed 500,000 baht, effective until November 30. The committee resolution will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration tomorrow, he said.
Regarding farmers who were given the reduced pledge rice price at Bt12,000 per tonne during June 30 to July 2 as set by the earlier meeting will be compensated for the margin.
The committee insisted that the decision to set the price at Bt15,000 per tonne will not affect the country’s fiscal and monetary discipline.
The government spent a budget of Bt345 billion for the rice pledging scheme for the harvest season 2013/2014. The spending is within the budget framework of the Bt500 billion maximum.
The committee agreed to increase channels to release rice in the government’s stock effectively in the second half of this year including government-to-government trade and selling rice to Thai and foreign entrepreneurs.
It will be released through the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET). The government targets releasing about one million tonnes a month and 5-6 million tonnes by this year with the budget of Bt72 billion.
So far, about four million tonnes were released and 17 million tonnes of rice remain in government stocks.
The committee agreed to increase efficiency in rice cultivation to reduce production cost and raise farmers’ income.
Regarding concerns over corruption, the meeting assigned a subcommittee at the provincial level to strictly check the process and install CCTV surveillance cameras at rice purchase spots and warehouses. (MCOT online news)