Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday blamed the delay in making overdue payments under the rice-pledging scheme on anti-government demonstrations.
Speaking during a special televised programme, she said that the protest leaders had taken the farmers hostage in their political game to bring down her government.
They had resorted to every means and explored every loophole to block the caretaker government from repaying its debts to the rice farmers, she said.
“I’m very upset and apologise to all the farmers who are suffering from the delays. The farmers are now in the middle of a political game being played by the protest leaders, who are refusing to follow the democratic and legal path. They should feel sympathy for the farmers who work hard for the sake of the country,” she said.
In order to alleviate the hardship of the farmers, the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has agreed to extend at the period of debt repayments and increase credit line limits. Farmers who are not customers of the bank can apply for the extension, she said.