The Rice Policy and Management Committee or the rice board has agreed to adjust up the pledging price of 2016-17 main crop Hom Mali paddy from 11,525 baht/tonne to 13,000 baht/tonne under the programme to delay the sale of paddy through credit extension to be implemented immediately until February 28.
The five-month programme which will help about two million Hom Mali rice farmers covering an area of 26 million rai will cost the government 20 billion baht in expenditure budget.
Under the programme, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives will accept paddy pledged by farmers at a fixed price of 9,500 baht/tonne or 90 percent of market price estimated at 11,000 baht/tonne. On top of that, farmers will receive 2,000 baht/tonne for quality improvement fee plus 1,500 baht/tonne for storage fees for farmers who have their own barns to store the pledged paddy with the first 1,000 baht to be paid immediately to farmers and the rest to be paid when the paddy is redeemed.
For farmers who do not have their own facility to store paddy, they will receive 9,500 baht/tonne for the paddy plus 2,000 baht/tonne for rice quality improvement fee.
Prime Minister Prayut Cha-ocha who chaired the rice board meeting on Tuesday said farmers who do not have their own barns or warehouses to store paddy can sell their crops to the market and receive an extra of 2,000 baht/tonne for quality improvement fee to be transferred to their bank accounts by the BAAC.
He insisted that the board had consulted legal experts who said the programme could be legally launched because it was not a programme to receive pledging of every grain of rice and also the rice pledged would not be kept in government's storage facilities.
He said he hoped farmers would be satisfied with the government's rice pledging scheme. He also begged for understanding from farmers, saying the government has limited fund and has to take care of many other people in distress.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn said that market price of Hom Mali paddy fluctuates between 9,700-11,000 baht/tonne, prompting the rice board to call a second meeting to adjust the pledging price of paddy from 11,525 baht to 13,000 baht/tonne.
She maintained that the Commerce Ministry did not forbid farmers to sell their crops among themselves, but if the amount involved is huge, the farmers would have to register.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)