Government will resolve rice price issue on sustainable basis: government spokesman

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The government is trying to resolve the rice price problem on a sustainable basis and will not just hand out money to help the farmers because that is not the right way to solve the problem but, besides, it will hurt the economy as a whole, government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd told the media on Sunday.

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He said that the government had explained to the farmers that Thailand is not the only rice producing country and there are several countries that export rice in competition with Thailand, hence, rice price cannot be dictated by Thailand or any other countries but by market mechanism.

In order to cushion the impacts of rice price slump, he said farmers should not depend on rice farming alone to make a living, but should engage in mixed agriculture by cultivating other cash crops which consume less water or to raise cattle or poultry.

“All sectors are fully aware that when the harvest season arrives, there will be a lot of rice and the price will drop,” said the spokesman, adding that the government has meted out several measures to help farmers to stock up their newly-harvested crops so that not all the rice crops are simultaneously dumped into the market, sending rice price to plunge downward.

Sansern said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha appreciated the effort of some farmers to help themselves by selling their rice crops directly to the consumers bypassing the middlemen or selling their rice through the social media.

The Rice Policy and Management Committee is due to meet on today to discuss rice price problem and is expected to come up with some measures to address the problem.