Thailand ’s National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) recently has suggested its government to reduce purchase price of rice by 20 percent from the current price of 15,000 THB (486 USD) to 12,000 THB (389 USD) per tonne of rice.

The committee also proposed a new limit on the amount of rice it will purchase to 400,000 THB per household, 100,000 THB per household lower than the current limit.

The Bangkok Post quoted Wiboonlasana Ruamraska, General Director of the Department of Internal Trade and Secretary of NRPC as saying that Thai Ministries of Commerce and Finance and Agriculture, and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives had agreed to the amendment.

According to Wiboonlasana , the amendment was proposed in the context of the country’s limited budget. She said that with the price of 12,000 THB per tonne of rice, the government’s storage rice purchase programme would able to last two more crops.

Implemented from October, 2011, the programme is to increase incomes for Thai farmers.

However, it caused a controversy in public opinion in Thailand as it is a burden to the country’s budget. It also pushes up the price of the country’s export rice thus reducing Thai rice’s competitiveness.-VNA