Thai government earmarks $3.6 billion for rice support scheme

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Rice mountains piling up in Thailand

The Thai military government will use a total of 127 billion baht ($3.62 billion) for loans and subsidies for rice farmers suffering from the low world market prices for the staple. Plans are to delay the release of ten million tonnes of new rice supply from the current harvest to the market in an attempt to prop up sinking prices.

Source of the money will be the state-owned Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, with the government providing loan security.

The money will be used to finance storage facilities, give handouts to small farmers and provide loans to rice mills and exporters to buy paddy for storage in warehouses for a period of three to six months. The government’s logic is that after that time, rice prices should have recovered somewhat so that rice would be sold under better conditions and the loans repaid.

Oversupply has been largely blamed for the steep fall in rice prices, which have hit their lowest level in decades of around 5,000 to 6,000 baht per tonne for paddy rice and 11,000 baht a tonne for Hom Mali rice. The development left many farmers with big losses as they invested in fertiliser and other material. With prices plummeting, some desperate farmers have started selling sacks of rice on Facebook and Instagram.

The government’s subsidy scheme comes after it imposed a $1 billion fine on former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over the rice subsidy scheme her administration ran before she was ousted in May 2014. Yingluck now faces criminal prosecution and a jail sentence of up to ten years for alleged negligence related to the multi-billion dollar programme which has been plagued by corruption and theft.

Yingluck at a recent tour to the northeast – Thailand’s rice growing heartland – hit back and said that the new subsidy scheme of the junta was “in principle the same as my rice pledging scheme.”

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[caption id="attachment_29172" align="alignleft" width="300"] Rice mountains piling up in Thailand[/caption] The Thai military government will use a total of 127 billion baht ($3.62 billion) for loans and subsidies for rice farmers suffering from the low world market prices for the staple. Plans are to delay the release of ten million tonnes of new rice supply from the current harvest to the market in an attempt to prop up sinking prices. Source of the money will be the state-owned Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, with the government providing loan security. The money will be used to finance storage facilities, give...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

rice-storage-in-thailand
Rice mountains piling up in Thailand

The Thai military government will use a total of 127 billion baht ($3.62 billion) for loans and subsidies for rice farmers suffering from the low world market prices for the staple. Plans are to delay the release of ten million tonnes of new rice supply from the current harvest to the market in an attempt to prop up sinking prices.

Source of the money will be the state-owned Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, with the government providing loan security.

The money will be used to finance storage facilities, give handouts to small farmers and provide loans to rice mills and exporters to buy paddy for storage in warehouses for a period of three to six months. The government’s logic is that after that time, rice prices should have recovered somewhat so that rice would be sold under better conditions and the loans repaid.

Oversupply has been largely blamed for the steep fall in rice prices, which have hit their lowest level in decades of around 5,000 to 6,000 baht per tonne for paddy rice and 11,000 baht a tonne for Hom Mali rice. The development left many farmers with big losses as they invested in fertiliser and other material. With prices plummeting, some desperate farmers have started selling sacks of rice on Facebook and Instagram.

The government’s subsidy scheme comes after it imposed a $1 billion fine on former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over the rice subsidy scheme her administration ran before she was ousted in May 2014. Yingluck now faces criminal prosecution and a jail sentence of up to ten years for alleged negligence related to the multi-billion dollar programme which has been plagued by corruption and theft.

Yingluck at a recent tour to the northeast – Thailand’s rice growing heartland – hit back and said that the new subsidy scheme of the junta was “in principle the same as my rice pledging scheme.”

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