TDRI urges Govt to speedily distribute rice from rice subsidy scheme

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BANGKOK, 4 January 2014  The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has suggested that the government urgently sell rice in the rice support program, emphasizing that the program damaged the Thai economy. 

TDRI President Somkiat Tangkitwanit said the rice support program was bankrupt from the start as the government bought rice at an expensive price but sold it cheaply. The academic said he believed that corruption took place the most when deals were made with farmers and when rice was distributed.

The TDRI head also criticized the program as lacking systematic accounting and suggested the government request for funding from various sources to improve the program’s liquidity. Mr Somkiat concluded that the rice subsidy scheme caused great losses to the economy and destroyed Thailand’s rice market as well as Thai rice exports.

According to the TDRI, the government has paid 700 billion baht to the farmers participating in the rice program for the 2011-2013 crop years but the total proceeds was only 150 billion baht.