Unhappy farmers dump rice, obstruct Finance Ministry entrances


BANGKOK, March 13 – Farmers rallying at the Finance Ministry were dissatisfied with their discussions with officials, and in frustration dumped rice obstructing five of the ministry’s six entrances. 

The farmers were unhappy, for the ministry did not buy the rice as asked by the farmers, and they also threw rotten eggs and fermented fish before they moved back to Commerce Ministry.

They said they plan to pressure the government continuously. The Finance Ministry is still the target tomorrow while another 12 tonnes of unmilled rice will be poured there if nothing improves. The farmers wanted the ministry to buy the rice they have poured, of which almost 20 tonnes have already been poured so far for two consecutive days to close the entrances of the ministry.

Meanwhile, caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the disruption by anti-government protesters yesterday has resulted in a delay in the government’s overdue payments to farmers. She asked farmer protesters not to do such process to create problems for other farmers.

In a related matter, caretaker deputy premier/Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan said the 7th Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET) was to resume bidding within the next two weeks following the rice rally and power disruption yesterday at the Commerce Ministry which halted the bidding process.

Expressing regret at the situation yesterday, he said he believed the protesters had not meant to obstruct the ministry compound. He wished for no more of such situation, for it will affect other farmers.

The minister said there are up to 13 million tonnes of rice in the government’s stockpiles. About one million tonnes of rice is expected to be sold monthly from now on, for rice will be in higher demand due to the ongoing drought situation in Thailand and abroad.