Traders keep watchful eye on state rice subsidy

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BANGKOK, June 19 – The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) today set up a special body to closely monitor the government’s controversial rice pledging scheme.

TCC chairman Issara Wongkusolkit said the chamber will look into the issue to ensure that the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) transparently discloses all information on the rice subsidy.

The committee will be led by TCC deputy chairman Vichai Assaraskorn.

In a three-point proposal on state rice purchases, the chamber called on the government to buy rice only from the annual harvest, and not the second seasons and limit the volume bought from each farmer’s household.

The government should allocate budget to support rice farming productivity such as finding fertiliser, seed, water sources and collective farming so that farmers are self-reliant in the long run.

The TCC chairman said the government should organise zoning for rice farming to differentiate qualities of rice and encourage fair competition by allowing rice traders to join rice auctions to get the best prices.

The government has been severely criticised by the public for inflicting heavy losses of Bt136 billion in just one harvest season, on its rice pledging scheme, which has been conducted for the last three crops.

Amid mounting criticism, the NRPC decided Tuesday to slash the pledging price of paddy from Bt15,000 per tonne to Bt12,000 per tonne.  (MCOT online news)

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