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Thailand: Rice farmers demand higher gov`t-guaranteed price

Posted: 2008-10-29
From: MNN
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More than 10,000 farmers in northeastern Thailand are threatening a protest which will block a major highway unless the government boosts its guaranteed prices for rice harvested during the current 2008-2009 season.

Northeastern Farmers Assembly chairman Paradorn Posri on Tuesday submitted the paddy farmers demand
to Deputy Prime Minister Olarn Chaipravat through the Khon Kaen governor asking him to review the government's guaranteed price for rice reached during a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day.

According to a government spokesperson, the Cabinet approved a plan to mortgage of 8 million tonnes of paddy from farmers from the beginning of November until the end of February next year, a term of four months.

Under the approval, the government would guarantee the price of paddy with moisture not exceeding 15 per cent at Bt12,000 a tonne, 'Mali' fragrant jasmine rice at Bt15,000 and glutinous rice at Bt9,000 per tonne. Each farmer is entitled to mortgage rice having a total value not exceeding Bt500,000 and the mortgage process must be carried out within the farmer's plantation area.

But farmers argued that the offering prices were even lower than the previous season. They said to be fair to farmers the 15 per cent paddy should be guaranteed at Bt14,000 a tonne, 'Mali' fragrant rice at Bt16,000 and glutinous rice at Bt12,000.

Farmers will lose if they sell rice at government's offering prices, Mr. Paradorn said.

The farmer leader said the northeastern rice growers would give the government 10 days to reply and if not (receiving a satisfactory answer), they will block the highway in Khon Kaen for an indefinite period. (TNA)
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