Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested rice farmers on Friday curb their output in order to prevent oversupply and falling prices.
Prayut said that unlike its predecessors, his government does not implement any rice-buying programmes, because such projects caused budgetary burdens to the state.
The government would not pay above the world market prices, the general said.
“Farmers may be happy with such a project. But we must avoid causing budgetary burdens to the country,” he said.
“There is a new law on state financial and monetary affairs. We can’t spend more than the legal limits, or the government will be unable to survive.”
The prime minister said that rice farmers have to avoid causing oversupply so that they could prevent falling prices of the crop. He said the production should be in line with demand in the market.
“But this does not mean I prohibit farmers from growing rice,” he said, adding that there were attempts to create such a perception.
“The focus should be on maintaining quality in order to keep prices” at profitable levels, Prayut said.
He also encouraged rice farmers to form groups in order to boost their bargaining power, which could help maintain prices.
The premier was speaking to some 300 farming representatives from all over the country at Government House. Among them were winners of this year’s outstanding farmer and farming institution awards. The farmers were accompanied by Agriculture Minister Grisada Boonrach.
June 8 is National Rice and Farmer Day.
After giving his speech, Prayut greeted the farmers and some shouted, “Fight on, fight on”. Prayut laughed and said that he was not fighting anyone but the country’s problems.
He also paid attention to T-shirts worn by some farmers carrying the message “Uncle Too’s reinforcement”. He asked jokingly who was behind the idea.
“Too” is Prayut’s nickname and he is often referred to as “Uncle Too” by his supporters.