“I want the government to help because I have no money to use now. We have suffered a lot, otherwise we would not come,” said farmer Sunan Poompuang.
“If they cannot solve the problem, then let other people do the job.”
Farmers also blocked two highways leading into Bangkok, according to police.
The government blames three months of demonstrations on Bangkok’s streets for derailing the scheme, with Yingluck saying her administration’s powers have been limited after the dissolution of parliament in December.
Writing in her Facebook page, she defended the rice pledging scheme as similar to policies aimed to support agricultural prices which were implemented in other countries and adapted in correspondence with the environments of each country.
“Each country has to take care of its farmers so they will have better income and be happy. The government’s policies derive from this philosophy are acceptable to the farmers and have been successful in upgrading the earnings and expand the opportunities of the farmers in the past two years. I myself and the cabinet have exerted our efforts to make this scheme a success,” Ms Yingluck wrote in her Facebook page in defence of the rice pledging scheme.
She accused the “undemocratic force” of attempting to overthrow her government and to block the government’s efforts to try to improve the livelihood of the people, citing the rice pledging scheme.
As for the delayed rice payments demanded by protesting farmers, the prime minister said she did not sit idly by and was fully aware of the farmers’ plight and urged authorities concerned to help the farmers.
The Finance Ministry, she said, is try to secure loan under legal limitations whereas the Commerce Ministry is trying to sell more rice through auctions so that there will be money to pay the farmers.