As a measure to help poor farmers from exploitation amid the current rice price fall, the government has clamped down on unethical and selfish rice millers and rice depots operators with almost 50 rounded up for their fraudulent practices and exploiting farmers
The Department of Internal Trade reported that 45 rice millers and operators were arrested during its campaign against exploitation of farmers.
All were found guilty of taking unfair advantage of rice farmers and they will face legal proceedings and that will land them in jails and hefty fines.
Director-general of the Department of Internal Trade Ms Nanthawan Sakunthanak said continuous checks on rice traders in Pathumthani, Ayuthaya, Ang Thong, Singhburi, Chainat, Nakhon Sawan, Pichit and Pitsanulok provinces, were made to ensure that rice millers and rice traders were complying with laws governing rice operations.
The check was to ensure that farmers are not exploited by them.
Between the period of November 22 � 28 and December 6 � 12, 2016, officials had carried out checks on altogether 122 rice traders which include 39 millers and 73 rice depots.
In all it was found that 47 of them had broken laws and unscrupulously taken advantage of farmers.
These defaulters were all guilty of not complying with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking 2016 notice No. 40.
Some of these illegal acts include making unrealistic deduction for contaminants or impurities from rice lots without actually weighing the contaminants, not clearly posting the buying rates of un-milled rice dependent upon moisture content in accordance with regulations and finally 12 were guilty of not informing farmers of the actual deducted weighs for every 1% moisture content as specified by rules. All 45 have been arrested and will have their operations investigated.
Penalties for such infringements include either a maximum jail term of 5 years or a maximum fine of 100,000 baht or both.
As for another 22 milers that were found to have violated the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking 2016 notice No. 44 which stipulates that the actual purchase price must be clearly posted at all times and must also include the deducted amounts for weighing charges, they were apprehended by provincial authorities who will decide upon the punishment each will receive.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)