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Rice-pledging: fund sought for extension

Sep 03. 2012
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The Commerce Ministry today will seek Cabinet approval for a budget of Bt405 billion to continue the rice-pledging scheme into a second year, running from October 1 until September 15 next year.

The National Rice Policy Com-mittee, chaired by Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, yesterday agreed that the government would prolong the project with no limit on the volume of rice pledged by farmers during a second year of the programme. Ministry permanent secretary Yanyong Phuangrach said about 25.88 million tonnes of paddy, out of total production of 33 million tonnes, are expected to enter the new pledging round.

Farmers would have the right to participate twice during the year, with an unlimited volume of rice being pledged each time.

However, the government will closely inspect the rice volume and pledging value of each farmer in order to prevent over-claiming or any other form of cheating during their participation, he said.

Should a farmer sell at least 20 per cent more rice than the volume pledged in this year’s round, or if they have a pledging value above Bt500,000, the government will recheck their plantation area and production to prevent losses for the government and the taxpayer, he added.

Under the law, unscrupulous traders or farmers face up to three years in jail and a fine of Bt3,000 if convicted of cheating on rice pledging.

Pledging prices under the extended programme will be unchanged from the first pledging measure, he said. The price of paddy jasmine rice is set at Bt20,000 a tonne, 100-per-cent paddy white rice at Bt15,000 and 5-per-cent paddy white rice at Bt14,800.

The pledging price of provincial fragrant rice will be Bt18,000 per tonne, while that of paddy Pathum Thani rice will be Bt16,000.

In a separate matter, a Cabinet source said the Finance Ministry would today seek Cabinet approval of its plan to allow the private sector to jointly develop plots of land in the Siam Square area with Chula-longkorn University (CU), in line with the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

The Education Ministry has agreed that CU can propose the development of a high-rise commercial-building project on Siam Square land covering 7,315 square metres, close to the Novotel Hotel.

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