The following news was not published in the English-language media:
Last week, 74-year-old rice farmer Sawek Sartthong was sitting in his house in Chainat province when his son Supamit, 36 and also a rice farmer, approached.
Supamit gave a “wai”, saying: “Mother, I came to say goodbye”.
Then, as he turned to his father to bid him farewell, he collapsed to the ground. Supamit died in hospital hours later. The doctors said he had swallowed a handful of rat-poison tablets.
Supamit was one of the farmers under the Yingluck government’s rice-pledging scheme.
His first two years under the scheme had gone well, and Supamit had married last September.
In December, he sold his rice to the government for Bt220,000. He still hasn’t been paid.
Supamit’s dad said his son, shocked and dismayed at the lack of payment, was forced to borrow from a local loan shark to cover the cost of farm rent, seed and other necessities for the new season’s crop. However, when the crop was hit by a severe drought, things got even bleaker.
The loan shark’s requests for repayment turned to threats, and Supamit began to keep himself to himself. Under severe pressure, he made the decision to end his life.
Supamit’s death brings the number suicides by farmers so far this year to 16.
With the government continuing to drag its feet over this issue, we can expect more.