Our government's rice price-pledging scheme has created a myriad of problems, both for the country and its people, since its launch in 2011.
First, the scheme started a “comprehensive corruption circle” the like of which we had never seen, in which unscrupulous officials and politicians reaped much more profit than the farmers themselves.
Second, the scheme induced fertiliser and insecticide companies to raise their prices in an inhumane manner. Landlords hiked rents. The scheme should have alleviated household debt among farmers, but instead resulted in a sharp rise.
Third, despite Thailand being the world’s No 1 rice producer and exporter for nearly half a century, 2011 was the first year that more than a million tonnes was imported from neighbouring countries, illegally smuggled in to take advantage of the pricing scheme.
It’s no surprise, then, that foreign farmers made much more money out of the rice scheme than our own.