Farmers to rally in Bangkok next Wed

Farmers in 24 provinces on Wednesday resolved that they will take their farm vehicles to Bangkok on Feb 19 to step up pressure on the caretaker government to pay for grain they delivered and pledged months ago under the government's rice scheme.

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Central agricultural committee chairman Ubolsak Bualuangngam, who also leads the Lop Buri Farmers Assembly, announced the resolution decision after a meeting with farm leaders from 24 provinces in the central, eastern and lower northern regions in his hometown to discuss ways of increasing the pressure on the government to pay for pledged crops. 

Mr Ubolsak said the meeting agreed that farm leaders in each province would lead their disgruntled growers in an agricultural vehicle caravan to the capital, but would not disclose their major rally site yet, Thai Rath online reported. 

He insisted that the rally in Bangkok aimed to expedite payments for unpaid farmers and was not otherwise politically motivated, not on the side of the government or its opponents.

He added that the protesting farmers would not receive financial support from any political group for their trip to the capital next Wednesday.

“There is a solution to the overdue rice payments problem, but we won’t tell the government. The government can actually have money to pay for the rice growers but they just don’t know how to think it out.

"If they can’t do it, step down and farmers will do it for them,” Mr Ubolsak said. 

“The only thing the government can think about is politics. If talks in a room have brought no solution, then we’ll talk with them on the road instead. 

“Imagine when the farmers with their farm vehicles stop to camp overnight while travelling to Bangkok. What will happen when they reach Phahon Yothin Road in Saraburi or the Asian Highway in Ayutthaya.” 

Reports said during the meeting Preecha Panta, vice chairman of Eastern Farmers Group and leader of the Prachin Buri Farmers Assembly, opposed the planned demonstration in Bangkok next week, saying the move to pressure the government would cause trouble for other people. 

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