PM: Farmers hostage to political game

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday said she would continue to fight for farmers she said have been made hostage to a political game being played out by a group of people opposed to the government.

This political manipulation had put the caretaker government in a difficult position in implementing the popular rice-pledging scheme, she said.

The prime minister said this in a television speech broadcast nationwide by the Television Pool of Thailand  about 10.30am.

Ms Yingluck said she and her Pheu Thai Party were confident from the beginning that the programme would help lift farmers' incomes and improve their quality of life.

Over the past two years, the scheme had proved a success and farmers became a solid base for the grassroots economy and the country's economic growth, she said.

Ms Yingluck said the sources of capital to run the programme were rice sales handled by the Commerce Ministry and financial management by the Finance Ministry to acquire loans from various financial institutes for the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to pay farmers for the pledged rice.

Unfortunately, the political game being manipulated by those seeking the government's removal had put up obstructions to the programme, leaving it in a difficult situation.

"No matter how many obstructions, I am not discouraged.  I will persist in fighting for the farmers," the caretaker prime minister said.

Ms Yingluck said if all banks and their executives took sympathy on farmers and allowed loans to the BAAC, the programme would continue.

"With a solid guarantee under the law, there are no reasons for the banks and their unions to fear that their  money would be used in the wrong way. The government is responsible for every baht.

"Moreover, the country's financial institutions are very strong with high liquidity. They can comfortably provide loans to help farmers without taking too much risk," she said.

The prime minister said that while the farmers were waiting for payments, the government has instructed the BAAC to extend the debt repayment period for them for six months.

To enable farmers to get funds for the coming crop season, the BAAC would increase the loan limit for both  existing clients and farmers who are not already customers.

Farmers can apply for a loan at the BAAC branch near their home.

Ms Yingluck said she would not let the ongoing political game hold farmers as hostages. She asked all those involved to have sympathy the farmers' hardship.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 19/02/2014 at 06:06 AM
Just more nonsense from this mouthpiece. Why should public companies such as the AOT be expected to bail out the BAAC when she and her corrupt stinking government have been running this rice scheme for several years and creaming off their rake. She did nothing to pay them before dissolving parliament, took no steps to protect them and was months late already paying them. Now she seeks to deflect the responsibility onto others. It is absolutely disgusting but totally in character from iPhone application.
Discussion 2 : 18/02/2014 at 05:15 PM
Yes, Yingluck fight for the farmers! Demand that all of your brother's frozen assets and accounts be turned over to the farmers now!
Discussion 3 : 18/02/2014 at 04:17 PM
The victim here is not Mrs. Yingluck. It is the farmers, and she is correct when she says that there have been obstructions set up for those members of society who want to continue to exploit the farmers (cheap food and cheap labour) Remember these people were also opposed to the raising of the minimum wage. The farmers are the victims, and those who exploit them are the criminals.
Discussion 4 : 18/02/2014 at 02:22 PM
Does this lady have any idea what is going on around here? It has been proven that the majority of the beneficiaries of this program have been the rich farmers and millers and not the grass roots Thai. The farmers haven't been paid since October, before the current political situation occurred and no matter how hard they try the PTP cannot sell enough rice at any price to get these farmers paid. Offering them loans to accrue more debt is not the answer. In fact there may not be an answer as the rice is quickly deteriorating and may soon become unsaleable. Own up to the failure of the scheme and get the country out of this!
Discussion 5 : 18/02/2014 at 02:18 PM
Well written script to be read out only on TV....if that's the case she should have disbursed their money a long time ago before the protests...
Discussion 6 : 18/02/2014 at 02:10 PM
With this government, everything is always someone else's fault.
Discussion 7 : 18/02/2014 at 01:14 PM
Unbelievable anywhere but here.
Discussion 8 : 18/02/2014 at 12:55 PM
Yingluck will continue to fight for the farmers, and don't forget their votes as well. She also seems to forget that the present situation is 100% PT inspired, through an unsustainable programme that cannot support itself and a snap election with the idea of cementing her government so that they could tap the system to bail themselves out.
Discussion 9 : 18/02/2014 at 12:45 PM
always the victim

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