Rice farmers rally against government

Rice growers in the North on Friday blocked the Asian highway in Phichit demanding government payment for rice sold under the rice-pledging scheme, while farmers in Buriram surrounded the provincial government complex for the same reason.

Around 3,000 farmers from Phichit, Sukhothai, Pitsanulok, Kamphaengphet and Nakhon Sawan used farm trucks to completely block two inbound lanes of the Asian highway at Pho Sai-ngam intersection in Bueng Narang district, northern Phichit.

The farmers demanded immediate payment for rice pledged under the government's rice subsidy scheme and threatened to intensify the rally unless their demand is met today.

Police were deployed near the rally site to direct traffic and maintain law and order. They advised motorists to avoid using the Asian Highway near the Pho Sai-ngam intersection and to use other alternative routes instead.

In the northeastern province of Buriram, thousands of rice growers from 23 districts and supporters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) sealed off the gates to the provincial government complex on Highway No 266 Buriram-Samed in Muang district.

The growers claimed they have still not been paid for rice pledged four months ago, and said they have no money to service loans borrowed from banks and loan sharks.

More than 100 policemen and territorial defence volunteers were deployed inside and around the provincial government complex to ensure peace and order.

Rampueng Parinram, 62, a rice grower from tambon Kasang in Muang district, said he joined the rally because he wants government to pay him the money he is owed.

He argued that government should not have encouraged farmers to join its rice scheme if it does not have the funds to pay for the initative. If they had not joined the scheme, farmers could have sold their rice to millers to earn money to pay for debts at the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, Mr Rampueng said.

Reports said a total of 50,313 farmers who sold rice under the scheme have still not been paid for rice with a combined worth of 4.17 billion baht.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 18/01/2014 at 07:49 AM
And the house of cards comes tumbling down. Thats why yingluck was so much in a hurry to get that 2.5 trillion baht loan to pay rice farmers by having the tax payers pay it. Next there near free medical scheme or scam falls the way side then votes follow it. Farmers get a clue would you buy high sell low? and still make money? Supply and demand California produces rice of high quality and low cost Why buy rice at twice the price for same quality at half the price?
Discussion 2 : 17/01/2014 at 09:27 PM
What a disaster of a scheme. I sincerely pity the farmers. I hope they get 100% of what they are owed PLUS interest.
Discussion 3 : 17/01/2014 at 08:59 PM
The EC already approved the government's request to sell rice at their auction to pay the farmers, but no one would buy the rice. The EC already approved the government's request to sell bonds to pay the farmers, but no one would buy the bonds as they feel they are bad investments. The EC can not legally allow the government to take out loans. The EC has done everything they can legally do to try and get the farmers paid, it's just that no one in the world wants anything to do with Thai rice, or bonds tied to rice. This government, not the EC, has destroyed Thai rice credibility worldwide, and now the farmers suffer because of it.
Discussion 4 : 17/01/2014 at 08:30 PM
My bet is that most of the payment for the rice went to some so called registered farmer, but there was actually no rice at all. Just fancy paper work. You will find out that there will be a lot of missing rice. But they will be clever and say that it was spoiled and the already disposed of it.
Discussion 5 : 17/01/2014 at 07:43 PM
The EC do his duty in sense of law. Rice pledge was from beginning not lawfull, economicaly weak-minded and a big waste of taxpayers money. Insofar the government is guilty - gov made a unlawfull promise. That's it!
Discussion 6 : 17/01/2014 at 07:09 PM
Farmers should be paid out in full, all multi billion Baht scams should be stopped, the responsible politicians and crooked rice millers should be put in jail. Cross a big fat X over the shameful last 2 years and start having a future again.
Discussion 7 : 17/01/2014 at 07:06 PM
Even worse they have been selling the rice secretly and the profit has been consealed by the Shin cronies
Discussion 8 : 17/01/2014 at 07:02 PM
The real trouble maker is the government. The EC asked tot postpone the elections, but the government does not listen.
Discussion 9 : 17/01/2014 at 07:00 PM
Is it unbelievable that she still wants to cling on to power without taking any responsibility? But she knows where the missing billions end up.
Discussion 10 : 17/01/2014 at 06:38 PM
Good to see that the farmers have realized they had the right to demand whatever government to help them by reallocating the state fund to subsidize rice farming. Hopefully, the EC will not play too much politics and intentionally drag on the process approving the caretaker government to borrow and release the funds to the farmers. Otherwise, I guess there will be 10s or even 100s times of the size of the protesting rice farmers to rally against the EC very soon. Because the rice farmers will realize that the real trouble maker is the EC, not the caretaker government, which actually has smaller power during this period than the EC.
Discussion 11 : 17/01/2014 at 06:33 PM
the money is sitting in a warehouse, it's called old rice.. the government has not been able to sell their old overinflated rice. So they have not been able to money back in the bank. But I guess we shouldn't worry the PTP is certain it is for the benefit of the Thai people.
Discussion 12 : 17/01/2014 at 06:32 PM
Karma my friends karma !!! from iPhone application.
Discussion 13 : 17/01/2014 at 06:21 PM
Well if you vote for Yingluck, you have to get the same medicine as she will get soon ! Maybe she can strike a new rice deal with China......and all har happy on white lies again !
Discussion 14 : 17/01/2014 at 05:46 PM
This is the snake that will bite the tail of the PT.
Discussion 15 : 17/01/2014 at 05:22 PM
If the rice pledging scheme had been set out properly, this would not have happened. Why is there not enough money? It is not about borrowing. Where has all the money gone so far???

Back to top

More From Bangkokpost.com