Farmers lose cool as 4,000 tonnes of paddy ‘disappear’

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PHICHIT, June 24 – Farmers in this central Thailand rice-producing province today filed complaints with police, charging a rice mill with cheating them in its purchase of 4,000 tonnes of paddy.

Farmers from Pho Thale district said they sold their paddy to the mill under the government’s rice pledging scheme but have yet to receive payment.

They were only given papers certifying the total weight of paddy delivered to the rice mill.

The farmers said 4,000 tonnes of paddy which they delivered to the rice mill disappeared from the warehouse, and that each farmer incurred losses of Bt100,000-Bt500,000.

Meanwhile, another group of farmers from Bang Mun Nak and Pho Thale districts did not file complaints with police but chose to rally at the rice mill to demand rice verification papers from the mill owner.

They said any legal action against the rice mill would take too long.

A farmer who sells paddy to the government under the rice pledging scheme via a rice mill must produce a rice verification paper to get payment.

A weight-certifying paper is not a legal document but it only sets forth the total weight of paddy a farmer delivers to the rice mill.

The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), which signed an agreement with the Phichit rice mill to join the rice pledging scheme for the 2012/2013 harvest season, has taken off its rice pledging notification sign from the controversial rice mill.