BANGKOK – Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha has told rice farmers the government would try its best to ensure that rice farmers get an average of 10,000 baht for a tonne of paddy they sell, but, at the same time, he begged for understanding and that the government had to take care of people throughout the country and not just farmers.
Praut went on to say that there are still about 10 million tonnes of unsold rice held in storage which were bought by the previous government under the rice pledging scheme.
â€œWhat will happen if the rice in storage are released into the market?â€ asked the prime minister as he asked farmers to have patience, saying that the government has been trying to solve their problem.
He said that the government could not just give the farmers 15,000 baht for each tonne of their paddy as the previous government did because that will hurt the economy and it is also impossible because there is still a huge stockpile of unsold rice in warehouses across the country.
The prime minister attributed rice price slump to a few main factors: rice price slump is a global problem; huge amount of unsold rice left in storage; and many countries have produced rice.
Farmers in Chai Nat province have started putting up “for sale” signs on their farmland amid plummeting rice prices.
A survey by Thailand’s Commerce Ministry found the prices of jasmine paddy from the 2016/17 crop fell by as much as 1,000 baht a tonne in a week to 6,800-9,000, depending on humidity, on Oct 26.
White rice paddy also dropped by the same margin to 7,400-7,700 baht a tonne.
And the prospects continue to look bleak for farmers.
Jasmine rice futures for contracts to be delivered in December were at 15,800 baht a tonne, which translates into 8,000 baht for paddy. A tonne of paddy yields roughly 500-660 kilogrammes of milled rice.
The export price at $490 a tonneÂ based on the futures prices is the lowest in 10 years, triggered by increasing output in almost all exporting countries.
The Prime Minister told farmers they should also plant other crops if they suffer loss from rice cultivation, advice borrow by the Late King.