Junta reaches out to rice farm­ers with sub­sidy

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THAI­LAND’S junta has agreed a US$550 mil­lion res­cue pack­age for the king­dom’s strug­gling rice farm­ers, many of whom hail from the po­lit­i­cal heart­lands of the civil­ian gov­ern­ment it top­pled.

Rice is a po­lit­i­cally del­i­cate area and with grain prices slump­ing the junta is des­per­ate to head off po­ten­tial flash­points with farm­ers.

Yes­ter­day, the cabi­net signed off ex­tra funds to help farm­ers suf­fer­ing from the dip in rice prices, and to hold the grain back from the mar­ket for sev­eral months to avoid an over­sup­ply glut.

The cabi­net “agreed to aid rice farm­ers in har­vest­ing and im­prov­ing rice qual­ity for jas­mine rice for the crop year 2016/17 with 19.375 bil­lion baht [around $550 mil­lion]”.

Two mil­lion farm­ers will be el­i­gi­ble for a to­tal sub­sidy of up to 13,000 baht ($371) per tonne of Thai­land’s famed strain.

Prices have slumped to as low as around 6000 baht per tonne for some farm­ers, de­pend­ing on the qual­ity of their har­vest.

The cash in­jec­tion comes weeks af­ter the junta or­dered ex-premier Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra to pay $1 bil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion for a rice scheme un­der her gov­ern­ment which it top­pled in 2014. –

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