Critics of the rice-pledging programme have focused correctly on its financial flaws. The populist plan was never sustainable, and its never-ending losses affected the budget, the national economy and, finally, the country's international image. This is unfortunate. The rice-pledging scheme addressed a serious and endemic problem in the country. Rice growers deserve a better deal, and the government can give it to them.
It is hardly news the farmers are disappointed, angry and generally in a bad mood over last week's changes to the rice-buying programme.
Less than two years ago, they were promised a sweet deal. They were paid for their rice at a higher price than the market. The government promised the programme would last indefinitely. Then, in less than 24 hours last week, the same government changed every term in the contract.