Thai farmers threaten government with march on Bangkok

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Thai rice pilesFarmers from 22 Thai provinces have issued the government in Bangkok an ultimatum of seven days to to reconsider its decision to slash the rice pledging ceiling price to 12,000 baht a tonne from 15,000.

Thai Farmers Association president Wichian Phuanglamchiak said a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been submitted to demand to at least maintain the original price until the pledging programme for the current crop ends on September 15, 2013.

Shinawatra, who first agreed to a special cabinet meeting’s decision on June 19, under the pressure said she has suggested the National Rice Policy Committee to consider a proposal by farmers for the ceiling price to be cut to just 13,500 a tonne instead of 12,000 baht.

However, under the 12,000 baht arrangement farmers will still be paid 40 per cent more than the average market price for rice, critics of the rice pledging scheme argued.

The farmers, in turn, have vowed a mass city convoy in Bangkok after the ultimatum ends in case they do not get satisfactory answers from the government. They indicated they would travel from their provinces with tractors and trucks and would stage protests in Bangkok’s inner city. Some towns in the northeast already reported rallies in front of provincial government buildings.

Thailand has a large agricultural sector with about 20 million people working in the industry. Around 3.7 million households depend on farming.

The government’s rice pledging scheme has led to $4.4 billion of losses for the first harvest in 2011 alone when the system started. Overall losses for the country’s budget are believed to be much higher. Thailand sits on millions of tonnes of unsold rice which already began to rot in the warehouses, and its rice export dropped significantly in 2012.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Farmers from 22 Thai provinces have issued the government in Bangkok an ultimatum of seven days to to reconsider its decision to slash the rice pledging ceiling price to 12,000 baht a tonne from 15,000.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thai rice pilesFarmers from 22 Thai provinces have issued the government in Bangkok an ultimatum of seven days to to reconsider its decision to slash the rice pledging ceiling price to 12,000 baht a tonne from 15,000.

Thai Farmers Association president Wichian Phuanglamchiak said a letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been submitted to demand to at least maintain the original price until the pledging programme for the current crop ends on September 15, 2013.

Shinawatra, who first agreed to a special cabinet meeting’s decision on June 19, under the pressure said she has suggested the National Rice Policy Committee to consider a proposal by farmers for the ceiling price to be cut to just 13,500 a tonne instead of 12,000 baht.

However, under the 12,000 baht arrangement farmers will still be paid 40 per cent more than the average market price for rice, critics of the rice pledging scheme argued.

The farmers, in turn, have vowed a mass city convoy in Bangkok after the ultimatum ends in case they do not get satisfactory answers from the government. They indicated they would travel from their provinces with tractors and trucks and would stage protests in Bangkok’s inner city. Some towns in the northeast already reported rallies in front of provincial government buildings.

Thailand has a large agricultural sector with about 20 million people working in the industry. Around 3.7 million households depend on farming.

The government’s rice pledging scheme has led to $4.4 billion of losses for the first harvest in 2011 alone when the system started. Overall losses for the country’s budget are believed to be much higher. Thailand sits on millions of tonnes of unsold rice which already began to rot in the warehouses, and its rice export dropped significantly in 2012.

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