Fire at Lop Buri rice warehouse

A fire at a rice warehouse in Chai Badan district of Lop Buri province Tuesday morning was believed to be arson, intended to destroy evidence of degraded rice under the government's rice-pledging scheme, former Phitsanulok Democrat MP Warong Dejkijwikrom said.

He said the warehouse was used to store rice of the 2012 crop year pledged under the scheme.

The former MP predicted there would be more fires at the warehouses where pledged rice is stockpiled, to destroy corruption evidence after farmers had vowed to raid them to examine the quality of the rice.

Yesterday's talks between representatives of farmers and the caretaker government failed to solve the problem. The government has not been able to pay the farmers for the pledged rice since October 2013. It now owes 130 billion baht to 1.4 million farming households.

The farmers wanted to know the exact date they would be paid but the government could not give them an  answer, saying only that it would seek 712 million baht from the central fund to pay 3,900 farmers.

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