Sticky rice subsidised
The government yesterday approved another subsidy programme to help raise glutinous rice prices for farmers to 13,000 baht a tonne, on a par with hom mali paddy prices approved earlier this week.
According to Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, the programme approved by the national rice policy committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha aims to handle the new harvest of glutinous rice from the 2016-17 main crop, which is expected to produce 6 million tonnes of paddy.
Of the 13,000 baht, 9,500 baht will be paid to farmers to store their paddy in barns for a certain period of time, while the remainder of the subsidy covers other costs, including quality maintenance and storage.
Participating farmers without rice barns will receive 9,500 baht a tonne plus 2,000 baht for harvesting and improvement costs. Farmers who do not have barns to store the paddy will not receive the 1,500-baht storage cost payment.
The subsidy programme is expected to help delay glutinous paddy sales by farmers for about 2 million tonnes and will be proposed for the cabinet's approval on Tuesday.
According to Mrs Apiradi, the committee yesterday also approved extending the state subsidy scheme for white paddy and Pathum Thani fragrant paddy for southern rice farmers until July next year. The programme is due to end in February.
The rice harvest in the South normally falls during February and July.
According to Mrs Apiradi, the committee also pledges to closely monitor rice harvesting charges and to cap the charges at 550-650 baht per rai after farmers have complained that the charges for rice harvesters inflated to as much as 800 baht per rai.
The cabinet last Tuesday approved a fresh rice subsidy programme worth 18 billion baht for farmers who grow white rice and Pathum Thani fragrant paddy, and store it in barns for a designated period of time.
Growers of both varieties will also receive 1,500 baht for storage costs and 2,000 baht for harvesting and quality improvement.
According to Mrs Apiradi, the overall rice prices are expected to gradually recover and more purchases from foreign buyers are anticipated after the Philippines' purchase of 200,000 tonnes from Thai rice exporters.