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Govt to buy rice at set price


June 6, 2008

Govt to buy rice at set price

Starting from Thursday (June 5), Thailand's Ministry of Finance and its Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will buy standard rice and glutinous 'sticky' rice from farmers through the government-guaranteed rice price programme approved in May, according to Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Samak said the BAAC would buy 2.5 million tonnes of paddy at Bt14,000 ($428) per tonne and purchasing would continue for three months, starting from Thursday. Farmers can sell rice to BAAC on a mortgage basis.

The decision to buy rice from farmers followed a meeting between Samak, 11 ministers concerned with the rice price problem and executives of the BAAC on Wednesday.

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Significantly, it also came after the Thai Rice Farmers' Association threatened to rally Friday and block major roads in and out of the capital if the government failed to take urgent measures to shore up the declining paddy prices in the country.

BAAC president Thiraphong Tangthirasunan said paddy rice which would be purchased from farmers is expected to contain high moisture because there is heavy rainfall in the country, meaning the paddy must be milled immediately.

Thiraphong said his bank would retain 10-20 billion baht for the rice purchase programme and that a working committee would prevent middlemen from buying rice from farmers at 7,000-8,000 baht per tonne and later mortgaging it to the government at 14,000 baht per tonne, the government's guaranteed price.

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