Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday instructed the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) not to give in to stakeholders in the rice-pledging scheme if they threaten or intimidate officials.
Speaking before the NRPC meeting, Prayut said the move to seek civil liability for the rice pledging scheme stemmed from his own concern that the statute of limitation on the case may expire.
“I would like you all to prevent anyone, especially those who are the stakeholders in the case, from issuing threats or intimidating related officials. You must adhere to righteousness and abide by the law,’’ he said.
He informed the committee that, of the total rice stockpiles under the rice-pledging scheme, 9 million tonnes of the rice are regarded as being in good condition, 2 million tonnes are degraded rice and the quality of 2 million tonnes cannot yet be determined.
He said the government would consult the Thailand Development Research Institute and other rice associations about how to make use of the degraded rice and distribute rice under the scheme without affecting the price of rice.
He said the government had secured several new rice deals after penetrating new markets in countries such as China, the Philippines, and was exploring new markets in African countries.
Prayut said the government is finding solutions to prevent rice-related problems such as oversupply and subsidies.
“We have to have a systematic and comprehensive plan before rice is planted. We must know how much should be planted. If prices of rice fall, please opt to plant other crops. If farmers keep asking for rice subsidies, the country will become mired in a vicious circle,’’ he said.
He said he instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives to find solutions to the oversupply and falling price of rubber also. The government is planning to do away with the rubber subsidy, he said.
“We will no longer give subsidies in terms of ‘differences in prices’, because it is against the law and we have an effective Rubber Act,’’ he said.