Despite the admission by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong that the rice pledging scheme is problematic and will incur losses which are yet to be assessed, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom remain adamant that the scheme is fine and benefits the farmers.
That said, I am not sure whether Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong was just joking or being serious when he told the reporters at the parliament on Monday that he would encourage rice farmers to turn to growing cassava and sugarcane if Thai rice could not be sold on the world market at a price which would enable them to live a better life.
Has anybody ever seen cassava or sugarcane being grown in a flooded, low-lying rice field? The two crops do not need that much water, let alone a flooded paddy field. Sugarcane needs a lot of water, but it must be on well-drained soil. The two crops can be grown pretty well on dry land unsuitable for many other crops.
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