Yanyong: Rice farmers will get money

The government will try its best to make a payment as soon as possible to farmers who are still unpaid for their crops pledged under the rice scheme, caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangraj said on Tuesday.

The government is now in the process of raising 130 billion baht in loans to pay the rice farmers suffering from the payment delay, he said.

Mr Yanyong called on growers to understand the difficulties of the caretaker government, as it has no authority to immediately make the payment to the affected farmers, as they demand.

He said the government had already spent 780 billion baht on its rice pledging programme over the past two years without any problem.

But after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the law prohibits the caretaker administration from making any move that might place a debt burden on the next government, he added.

Some groups of people were now trying to use this legal limitation to obstruct the caretaker government from acquiring loans to pay rice farmers, by blocking the entrances to the Finance Ministry, the Bank for Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Government Savings Bank and the Krung Thai Bank, he said.

The caretaker deputy minister said he was confident that any delay in the planned Feb 2 election would not have any impact on the government’s moves to make payment for rice farmers.

Many farmers complain they have still not been paid for grain pledged as long ago as October, and are deeply in debt as a consequence.

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