BAAC completes rice payments

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) made the final outstanding payments to farmers who had pledged rice to the previous government, and closed the book, in Khon Kaen on Tuesday.

BAAC president Luck Wajananawat said the bank had distributed another 90 billion baht to over 800,000 farmers in overdue payments for pledged rice frorm the harvest year 2013/2014, which ended in February.

A total of 1.69 million farmers had pledged 11.81 million tonnes of main crop rice for a total of 195.45 billion baht.

The BAAC had now paid them 195.394 billion baht  -- 164.894 billion baht from the Commerce Ministry’s sales of rice, 10.5 billion baht from a special farmer fund and 20 billion baht from the government’s central budget.

However, there were still small numbers of farmers in the South, where the harvest season was later than in other regions, and farmers with some document problems who have not yet received payment. 

Mr Luck said the comletion of the payments, which is five days earlier than the schedule of June 22, was  expected to help drive the economy and generate around 0.2% in additional GDP growth.

Under the previous government led by then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the government bought up every grain of rice at the pledged prices, which were 40-50% higher than market prices -- resulting in huge losses and an inability to make payments. 

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