Commentary: Hard to break farmer subsidies

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Rice farmers in Thailand are asking the military government to come up with a new market intervention scheme to stem the decline in prices of rice being paid farmers that are now back to being based on the international rice trading prices.

The prime minister, who was ousted and which ultimately led to the military coup in the country, came into power by winning a landslide vote in the rural countryside of a country known as the premier rice producer of the world. She won by promising more subsidies to the rice farmers than the previous party in power promised.

It doesn’t matter where in the world it occurs—from the U.S. to Europe to any Third World country—but once farmers are given price supports in one way or another then it becomes extremely hard for subsidies to be removed. Politicians looking for votes don’t want to upset constituencies with changes that could negatively impact farmers’ income or food supply. It usually takes some big, novel ideas to provide an income safety net.

The military in charge in Thailand at the moment isn’t looking for votes; therefore, they are in a position to make hard decisions based on economics. Almost all aspects of a military dictatorship aren’t good—especially the crackdown on freedom of speech and lack of democracy.

But what also isn’t good is that politicians worldwide successfully win elections by promising the illogical and economically unfeasible—a form of buying votes—as the prime minister did.   

The price-support scheme of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ended in February after causing billions of dollars in losses to the government and leading to an estimated 90 billion baht ($3.5 billion) in unpaid money to farmers who sold their rice to the government.

The Thai military, which seized power in May after months of political turmoil, is moving to pay the arrears. A senior finance ministry official said the ministry has secured a loan for 50 billion baht to pay farmers, according to a Reuters report.

But farmers want additional income guarantees. "We still need the government's price supporting scheme. It may not be the same as Yingluck's scheme, but it could be a new measure to help farmers when prices are falling," Prasit Boonchoey, head of the Thai Rice Farmers Association, told Reuters.

The poor Thai rice farmers deserve their income to be above complete poverty, but something has to be worked out that won’t bankrupt the government? 

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Smooth Wall Grain Bins

Meridian’s SmoothWall bins are the ultimate storage bins, used to handle and store fertilizer, grain, feed and seed, and extend ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form