Farmers thank PM for assistance

Farmer representatives yesterday thanked the prime minister for the assistance he ordered and provided to them amid hardships and troubles from the record low rice prices.

They appreciated all efforts by the government in helping to improve their livelihood.

The meeting between farmer representatives and the prime minister was held at Government House.

Leading the farmer representatives is Mr Suthep Kongmark, the president of the Thai Agriculturists Association.

The farmers called on Gen Prayut yesterday just prior to his meeting with the cabinet

He personally thanked Gen Prayut for his initiative in solving problems faced by farmers in particular with regards to the government's rice pledging programs and rice sales postponement policies.

In the conversation with Gen Prayut, the farmers assured him that they would not be asking for any special attention but only desired that the government continues to look after all farmers in the Central Plains as well as other parts of the country.

They mentioned this because the government's rice sales postponement policy has not been able to be adopted by all farmers as many are without granaries to store harvested rice.

They felt that in future as more granaries are constructed with the government's help they will be able to directly control rice prices by regulating supply.

However they requested that the government's agricultural aid policies must take into account the different planting cycles for each region so that these measures can have the highest coverage.

With regards to the prime minister's desire to implement measures to make adjustments to rice planting cycles in some territories to correlate with market demand, the farmers assured Gen Prayut that the association had talked to rice farmers who now understand the necessity of changing to other more economically feasible crops in the event of failure of that season's rice crops.

Furthermore, they also assured the prime minister that none of their members were criticizing the previous administration's rice policies and more importantly had no desire to become entangled in politics.

In reply to farmers' request, Gen Prayut stated that he wanted everyone to understand what the government was trying to achieve and always keep in mind that the government had their best interests at heart.

He told the farmers that all the government wanted was to make sure that farmers in the country are provided with all the tools they need to ensure that they possess the highest bargaining power possible.

He stressed that the government's efforts were farsighted with the final goal aimed at making farmers stronger.

That is why there is a pressing need for them to find ways to reduce production cost as much as possible, he said.

He went on saying that if this means switching to other more economical crops then it must be done.

He assured that this does not mean that farmers cannot return to planting rice when conditions are suitable but is a pragmatic and more intelligent approach to solving problems in the short-term.

He then told farmers that the country was moving forward to Thailand 4.0 and everyone, farmers and otherwise, must be on the same board and move together towards this goal.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)