Government told to quickly come to farmers’ rescue

Former Democrat MP Warong Detkitpirom urged the government to quickly come to the rescue of rice farmers who are now suffering from sharp drop in rice prices.

The whistle-blower who exposed the alleged massive corruption in Yingluck government’s rice pledging scheme suggested the government to pay the rice farmers the difference between the selling rice price and the cost price to solve their liquidity problem as the top priority.

Dr Warong said he was confident that the handouts by the government this time would not provoke public protests if the money has actually reached the needy farmers.

He said the handouts must be followed by medium-term measures to be worked out quickly so they can be implemented without much delay. One of the measures, he suggested, is for farmers not to sell their paddies directly to the millers but that they must form into groups and mill the paddies themselves and sell milled rice with the government helping by instructing all governmental agencies and organizations to buy milled rice from farmer groups or farmer cooperatives.

For long-term measures, Dr Warong said farmers should not rely on rice cultivation to make a living but should diversify by raising cattle, poultry and other activities.

From his personal experience, the former Democrat MP said farmers would grow rice and raise cattle make more income than growing rice alone.

He suggested the government change its mindset about agriculture and help out children of farmers to become entrepreneurs after their graduation instead of becoming salesmen or office employees.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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