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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   17  September 2011

Anti-corruption move for Thai rice scheme

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In an attempt to prevent corruption in the rice mortgaging programme that will start on October 7, the Commerce Ministry will propose appointing a central surveyor to check quality and quantities of rice.
Other government agencies are being invited to help strengthen the inspection measures before and after the scheme operates.

The government wanted to ensure no corruption, a common occurrence in previous mortgage schemes, so thorough checking would be conducted at all steps, said Poom Sarapol, a deputy commerce minister who chairs the sub-committee overseeing the operation of the mortgage programme.
The Internal Trade Department will inspect the volume and quality of paddy rice at all participating millers, a total of 621 from 50 provinces so far.

In the past, corruption occurred at several steps and was said to have involved farmers, millers, silo operators, government officials and surveyors.

"We have done more homework and have investigated the corruption process," said Mr Poom.
"Farmers may sell pledging tickets while millers may actually stock rice of a quality lower than what was specified on their books. We have to check all steps."

Ad hoc committees and inspection teams would be appointed to regularly and randomly inspect the operations of rice millers.

Those found cheating would face serious legal charges. The mortgage programme of the Pheu Thai-led government replaces a price-guarantee scheme offered by its predecessor.

Under the programme, farmers will receive 20,000 baht a tonne for fragrant Hom Mali paddy and 15,000 baht for premium white rice paddy.
The current market price for Hom Mali rice is about 15,000 baht a tonne and white paddy is trading between 9,500 and 11,500 baht.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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