Faulty measures blamed for death of farmers in South


BANGKOK, Feb 4 – Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha admitted today there were flaws in the security measures for farmers under the state’s rice planting revival scheme in the far South which resulted in the fatal shootings of two trainer farmers from the central plains and the wounding of 10 others in Pattani province last Friday.

Most of the surviving farmer trainers expressed their desire to return to their home provinces of Sing Buri and Suphan Buri. The farmers from the central region participated in a rehabilitation project for abandoned rice fields in the South under the sponsorship of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC).

Gen Prayuth said some agencies had assigned “outsiders” to work in the field without informing the authorities, leading to loopholes in the security system.

He expressed his appreciation to farmers from the central provinces who travelled South to help train farmers there plant rice.

Most southern farmers who switched from growing rice in their fields to rubber wanted to return to rice farming.

SBPAC funded the programme to revive rice farming – a scheme fully welcomed by many farmers some of whom rallied their support to the project over the weekend following the attack on trainer farmers.

The army chief said a new batch of 4,000 police officers will be dispatched to the far South in the next few months to help army and civil authorities provide safety to local residents.