Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) on February 25 approved an earlier request by the Government on using 712 million baht (21.9 million USD) sourced from the Central Fund to pay local farmers it owed under the rice-pledging scheme.

The money will go to 3,971 farmers in the provinces of Chachoengsao, Phetchabun, Prachin Buri, Uthai Thani, and Ayutthaya, the Bangkok Post quoted EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn as saying.

The Thai Government can seek the EC’s approval for more payments to local farmers and the requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, asserted Somchai.

The same day, 20 billion baht (614.16 million USD) from the Central Fund was endorsed at a cabinet meeting. The finance will be used to partly pay the Government’s long-overdue debts to rice growers, as requested by the National Rice Policy Committee, according to Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Puangraj.

The Government still owes over 100 billion baht (3.07 billion USD) to around 1 million farmers nationwide.-VNA