The Thai Department of Internal Trade has indicated that the government’s reduction of the rice pledging price will save more than 40 billion THB. About one million tonnes of rice in the scheme are expected to be left in warehouse at the end of this month.

The department’s Director-General Wiboonlak Ruamrak said the budget of the rice pledging programme will be saved by 30-40 billion THB after the pledging price was cut from 15,000 THB to 12,000 THB a tonne. Currently, 2.5 million tonnes of rice are stored in warehouse but by this June 30 the stock will decrease to only one million tonnes, he said.

Meanwhile, a representative of Thai farmers Rangsan Kasulong said most corruption in the programme takes place during the registration process. Another problem is that merchants buy rice from the government at cheap prices but sell it at much higher prices. Rangsan, therefore, called on the government to probe the alleged corruption and disclose the programme’s data more precisely and accurately.

He said the rice pledging price cut will affect farmers the most and lending to them will only increase their debts.-VNA