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Thailand to begin rice-pledging scheme payouts

Thailand’s ruling junta said that about 800,000 farmers will be able to claim their delayed payments from the troubledl rice-pledging scheme starting from Monday.

BANGKOK: Thailand’s ruling junta said that farmers will be able to claim their delayed payments from the troubled rice-pledging scheme starting from Monday.

Somchart Soithong, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said on Sunday that more than 800,000 farmers were owed payment under the ousted government’s rice-pledging scheme.

According to the Thai army, all farmers concerned will receive their money within a month.

The Bangkok Post reported 92 billion baht (US$2.83 billion) was required to pay the farmers.

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has set aside 40 billion baht, and another 50 billion baht will be loaned from other financial institutions.

Deposed premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s government had promised to buy rice from local farmers at about 40 per cent above market rate.

But the programme ran into financial trouble towards the end of last year.

Political instability also put a break to the scheme indefinitely, crippling farmers’ incomes.  

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