Thai rice farmers rally outside ministry to protest against non-payment of rice subsidies
BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Rice farmers in Thailand are stepping up pressure on the government for long overdue payments from a controversial rice subsidy scheme.
A group of farmers on Thursday brought tractors and trucks to rally outside the Commerce Ministry in Bangkok while another group from the north will submit a royal petition.
Meanwhile, rice farmers from western provinces are continuing their blockade at Rama II Road at the Wang Manao intersection in Ratchaburi's Pak Tho district, which began on Feb 1.
The populist scheme, which paid farmers above market rates for rice, has become a lightning rod for anger among anti-government protesters who say it has engendered widespread graft, punched a hole in Thai public finances and dislodged the kingdom from its position as the world's top rice exporter, AFP reported.