The budget to subsidise rice pledgxc ng for the 2012-13 crop year may be cut from an earlier proposal of 405 billion baht, with drought expected to reduce the harvest of the second crop of paddy this year.
Vatchari Vimooktayon, the commerce permanent secretary, said only 6 million tonnes of paddy from the 2012-13 second crop is expected to enter the pledging scheme, a significant drop from an earlier forecast of 11 million tonnes.
According to Mrs Vatchari, the Commerce Ministry will propose that the subsidy for rice pledging be cut to 300 billion baht, of which 200 billion would be for the main crop and 100 billion for the second crop.
The government earlier planned to offer as much as 405 billion baht for the 2012-13 season to cover 34 million tonnes of paddy.
The Yingluck Shinawatra government spent 336 billion baht in the previous crop year to buy 21.6 million tonnes of pledged paddy. Some 6.9 million tonnes was from the main crop and 14.7 million from the second crop.
Of total spending, 118 billion baht was used to buy paddy in the main harvest season and 218 billion for the second crop.
The new proposal still needs approval by the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) and the cabinet.
Mrs Vatchari said the price of rice under the government's pledging scheme will remain unchanged at 15,000 baht a tonne for white rice and 20,000 baht a tonne for fragrant rice.
She had earlier triggered a farmer backlash by indicating that the pledging price would be slashed.
(Source: Bangkok post)