No meeting on rice scheme on Friday
- Published: 28/02/2013 at 03:43 PM
- Online news:
Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom on Thursday afternoon reaffirmed that there will not be a meeting of the National Rice Policy Committee on Friday as reported by some media.
Reports that the rice panel will meet Friday to consider setting a new pledging price for paddy and also other conditions of the government rice pledging scheme were baseless, he said.
Boonsong Teriyapirom (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Mr Boonsong, who is now overseas, said the committee will meet sometime in mid-March, after the Internal Trade Department, in its capacity as ex-officio secretary of the panel, completes a study on rice production costs, rice farmers’ incomes and the impact, advantages and disadvantages of reducing the pledging price.
The scheme's price setting would certainly affect farmers and the rice export sector, therefore it must be carefully considered, he said.
After the study’s final conclusion is made, it will be forwarded to the rice panel for consideration of a suitable paddy price for the next round of the government’s rice pledging programme for the year, he added.
The minister’s confirmation came after it was reported by some local media that the Commerce Ministry will propose to the rice panel that the pledging price of non-glutinous unmilled rice be lowered, and that the panel would meet on the issue on Friday.
According to the local media, the ministry’s permanent secretary Watcharee Wimuktayon was quoted as saying that her ministry will propose three price levels for non-glutinous paddy to the committee for consideration - 15,000 baht per tonne, 14,000 baht and 13,000 baht per tonne.
Pledging prices for other kinds of paddy would be unchanged. The government's rice pledging scheme for the second crop begins in April- May, she added.
Under the rice pledging programme over the past two years, payment for rice was set at 15,000 baht a tonne for non-glutinous paddy and 20,000 baht per tonne for Hom Mali paddy, she said.
The scheme had helped farmers gain higher incomes and make debt repayments, Mrs Watcharee said.
It was now the right time for her ministry to bring about balance to the rice market and the rice export sector.
If the pledging price of the paddy is lowered, rice exporters would be able to export more and foreign exchange revenue would rise and the rice industry would expand, while farmers would not be affected, she said.
The permanent secretary said the pledging price of non-glutinous paddy might remain the same, at 15,000 baht a tonne, depending on the decision of the committee.
However, Wiboonluk Ruamluk, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, insisted that the reports were incorrect, saying that there was no move to cut the rice pledging price.
The official said her department was still gathering information and hearing opinions from all parties, including academics who want the ministry to review the set ceiling prices for rice.
The information and suggestions would be forwarded to the committee meeting, scheduled for mid-March, for consideration when making a decision on the rice pledging price, she added.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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