December 19, 2008

Thailand's corn producers end protest


Corn farmers in Thailand's northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Phrae have dispersed after a two-day road blockade protest, after negotiations for produce mortgage reached satisfactory results.

The farmers had demanded the government to extend time and increase quotas for their produce mortgage.

Silo operators agreed to store produce for one month without charge but farmers have to pay THB320 per tonne of corn to cover the cost of keeping their produce in good condition with no excess moisture.

The corn would be stored until the new government introduced a new mortgage plan to help the farmers. If there is no new plan, the silo operators would buy the produce at market prices. 

The Public Warehouse Organisation on Monday (Dec 15) announced the closure of the government's corn mortgage scheme, saying its quota of 500,000 tonnes was full, provoking corn farmers in several north and northeastern provinces to start the road blockade protest.

The government's guaranteed price of corn in the mortgage scheme was eight baht 50 satang, about THB2 higher than the current market price.

However, reports said that corn farmers in Loei and Nan continued their protests.

US$1 = THB34.4615 (Dec 19)

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