News / Asia

Thai Military Offers Support Plan for Rice Farmers

Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives before a meeting to discuss the 2015 national budget at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives before a meeting to discuss the 2015 national budget at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
Reuters
Thailand's ruling military will develop a scheme to help rice farmers cover costs, a top officer said on Wednesday, in place of a scandal-plagued and costly price support program that helped drive the former prime minister from office.
 
Junta leader General Prayuth Chan-Ocha last week had said the scheme of guaranteeing prices far above market levels would be scrapped, but had not indicated what would replace it.
 
The lack of a price subsidy will mark the first time in decades that the rice industry in Thailand, until recently the world's top exporter, will operate without direct state intervention.
 
On Wednesday, one of the generals in charge of the economy said a new scheme would offer soft loans to producers for fertilizer and other inputs and benefits for their families.
 
“We've not mentioned anything about compensation or money to be given to farmers,” General Chatchai Sarikalaya, a member of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), told reporters after a meeting of senior economic officials.
 
“What we do plan is help to farmers to cut production costs and provide them with easier access to capital and soft loans.”
 
The plan, he said, would be submitted to Prayuth.
 
Bumper crops predicted

World prices are on the decline in anticipation of what the United States Department of Agriculture says will be bumper crops in major producer countries, including India, Thailand and Vietnam.
 
Previous governments, regardless of political persuasion, allocated large sums of money to purchase part of the rice crop to keep prices artificially above market levels.
 
Keeping the large constituency of rice farmers happy is a priority for the military, which seized power on May 22, pledging to end six months of political turmoil. Discontent among rural residents could derail the junta's plans to restore order and nurse an economy teetering on the brink of recession.
 
The military has already handed out 92.4 billion baht ($2.86 billion) in payments to rice farmers that the caretaker government of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had failed to disburse.
 
Thai common grade 5 percent white rice was offered at $390 per ton on Wednesday, up from a 2014 low of $370. That price was hit in early May, before the coup, when a caretaker government rushed to sell rice from state stocks to secure funds to pay arrears to millions of farmers.
 
Support for plan

Traders said the introduction of a new scheme would support prices.
 
“Prices are set to fall eventually on increasing supply, but they are unlikely to fall sharply,” Charoen Laothamatas, head of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters.
 
A Bangkok-based trader said prices were also supported by demand from traditional buyers - Indonesia, the Philippines and African and Middle East countries.
 
“Prices are unlikely to fall sharply as there are buyers out there. But there is also very little room for prices to rise as  demand is not very strong,” he said.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs