The Thai Cabinet on June 19 gave the green light to a proposal by the Commerce Ministry’s National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) to pay farmers 20 percent less for rice after the rice subsidy programme caused losses amounting to 4.4 billion USD in 2011-2012 period.

According to Cabinet Minister Warathep Rattanakorn, the government will pay 12,000 THB (389 USD) per tonne of rice, compared to the current price of 15,000 THB (486 USD), to be effective on July 1.

At the same time, the government also sets the ceiling for its subsidy programme at 100 billion THB (3.24 billion USD) per year, while capping purchase from each farmer household to a maximum of 500,000 THB (16,000 USD).

However, the Thai Farmers Association has called on the NRPC to review its decision and asked the government to continue the subsidy scheme in the next five years.-VNA