The continuing drought which has substantially cut back the harvest of the second-crop paddy for this year means a loss of much-needed revenue for many farmers. But to the contrary, it represents a blessing in disguise for the Commerce Ministry.
Commerce permanent secretary Watcharee Vimuktayon says only seven million tonnes of second-crop paddy will be bought under the rice pledging scheme as against 11 million tonnes estimated earlier because of the drought. As such, only about 100 billion baht will be needed to support the populist scheme as against 165 billion baht earlier approved by the cabinet.
The permanent secretary is confident there will be enough funds to buy the seven million tonnes of paddy or unmilled rice without the need for the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the chief financier of the rice pledging scheme, to secure additional loans to shore up its liquidity.
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