Junta reaches out to rice farmers with subsidy
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. –