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High prices but no rice

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Rice farmers should be reaping large profits from the government's rice mortgage scheme, but for many, their harvest has been almost completely submerged by the worst floods in memory. 

A farmer fishes in a flooded paddy field in Ban Sai district of Ayutthaya. PORNPROM SATARBHAYA


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High prices but no rice

Life is cruel for many farmers in the central rice-growing regions.

They should be reaping large profits from the government's rice mortgage scheme, but their harvest has been almost completely submerged by the worst floods in memory.

Today, the government is scheduled to begin offering between 13,800 to 20,000 baht for each tonne of rice depending on the type and quality.

That has little meaning for Preecha Rattnakanok, a 56-year-old farmer in Ayutthaya province who owns a 20-rai plot and rents another 20 rai to grow rice. He said it is likely he will have no rice to participate in the scheme this year.

"My hopes are now under water. It's finished," Mr Preecha said.

All of his 40 rai of paddy fields have been washed out along with others in the same area.

Leaders of farmer groups in Ayutthaya said no more than 20% of paddy in the province was expected to survive the flooding.

Even farmers whose rice fields have survived the flooding so far are anxious. Many expressed doubt they would withstand the waters set to inundate them in coming days.

Some rice millers in the province are uncertain whether or not they should start taking in mortgaged rice today.

Under the scheme, they are obliged to mill the rice and send it to a central silo. They said they are afraid that the flooding will affect their compounds and damage the rice.

They said they expected to see only a few farmers coming in today to honour their promise to mortgage their rice.

The Agriculture Ministry earlier estimated that about 3 million tonnes of paddy would be destroyed by the floods out of an estimated total yield of 25 million tonnes.

Adapted from a story by Piyaporn Wongruang in today’s Bangkok Post.

paddy field
– a field planted with rice growing in water นาข้าว
cruel – deliberately causing pain to other people or animals  ป่าเถื่อน  โหดร้าย
region – a large area of land, usually without exact limits or borders  ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ
reap – to get something as a result of something that you do ได้รับผลตอบแทน
profit – money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid กำไร
rice mortgage scheme – a system in which the government offers a set price to farmers for their rice depending on type on quality
harvest – the activity of collecting a crop, in this case a rice crop การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
submerge – to cause to be under water  ทำให้จมน้ำ ทำให้อยู่ใต้น้ำ
memory – something that you remember from the past; the ability to remember information, experiences and people ความจำ
scheduled – planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
plot – a piece of land used for a particular purpose ที่ดินแปลงเล็ก
participate – to take part in or become involved in an activity มีส่วน
survive – to continue to exist รอดพ้น
anxious – worried because you think something bad might happen ที่วิตกกังวล, ที่ร้อนใจ
doubt – thinking that something is probably not true or going to be true ความสงสัย
withstand – to be strong enough not to be hurt or damaged by extreme force, extreme conditions, etc. ทนทาน
inundate – to flood; to submerge ท่วม, ทำให้จมลงใต้น้ำ
miller – a person who owns or works in a mill for making flour เจ้าของโรงสี
obliged – required to do something  ต้องทำ
silo – a tall round tower used for storing things such as grain, crops, and food for animals ฉาง, ไซโล
compound – an area in which a group of buildings stands บริเวณ
honour – to do what you promised to do ทำตามสัญญา
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
yield – an amount of something produced ผลผลิต

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