Many farmers go home empty-handed as funds wired not enough

national February 18, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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SOME FARMERS in the North and Northeast collected long-overdue payments for their pledged rice yesterday, though many had to go home empty-handed because the money transferred by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) was not enough

In Buri Ram, BAAC provincial director Gan Rattanasakulchat said his office had received an additional Bt108 million to distribute among its 22 branch offices. 
However, some 70,000 farmers were still pending payment as they were still waiting for their turn based on the certificate numbers under the rice-pledging scheme, he said. Hence, he added, the bank would extend a grace period of another six months from March 31 onward. 
A separate low-interest loan would also be available to help farmers with increasing operational costs, he added. 
The provincial branch was initially given a total of Bt1.287 billion, which covered only 13,000 of the 82,000 eligible farmers. 
In Ang Thong, several farmers were able to collect their pledged rice payments after the provincial branch received Bt10 million. 
Farmer Santi Eiumsa-ard, 58, said he was overjoyed and would spend some of the Bt100,000 he was given to purchase fertilisers and chemicals for the next crop. 
Many disappointed
In Phitsanulok’s Muang district, many farmers returned home empty-handed because the BAAC branch only had enough funds to 370 of the 4,000 eligible farmers. 
The provincial BAAC office director Thanin Pitak-annop said the bank’s 14 branches in Phitsanulok had only been given Bt90 million this time, which is the 13th round of fund allocation. 
So far, Bt1.859 billion has been paid to farmers in the province, but another Bt6.038 billion is needed to cover the remaining farmers, but this amount has yet to be wired to his office, he said. 
In Ratchaburi, many farmers went to BAAC branches with their pledged-rice certificates in the hope of finally getting paid, but returned disappointed as bank staff said no money had been wired to the branches yet. 
Farmers in this province have so far been paid Bt915 million and are still owed Bt1.736 billion in payments. 
A similar sight of disappointment was seen in Uthai Thani, where 17,852 farmers are still owed payments worth Bt2.8 billion.

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