Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rice policies caught in controversy and politicization

Srisuwan Janya, a well-known serial petitioner, was arrested for allegedly trying to extort 1.5 million baht from a government official. The arrest followed a complaint by Natthakit Khongthip, director-general of the Rice Department. Thailand’s rice breeding project and the overall rice market are also discussed.

Arrest and Allegations

On January 28, Srisuwan Janya, a famous serial petitioner in Thailand, was taken into custody on an extortion charge, shocking Thai society. He was arrested following a sting operation carried out by anti-corruption officials, based on allegations of demanding 1.5 million baht from the director-general of the Rice Department in exchange for dropping plans to file a complaint of alleged corruption against the official. A complaint had been filed by Natthakit Khongthip, accusing Srisuwan and two others of attempting to extort 3 million baht from him.

Rice Production Subsidies and Challenges

Rice production cost subsidies have been implemented over many years in Thailand, with the latest scheme aiming to benefit 4.68 million families in the upcoming crop year. However, the Rice Department’s budget for the coming year is proposed to be significantly reduced, raising concerns about the country’s rice breeding and overall rice production. The local rice market has experienced substantial challenges due to global warming and internal political influences, impacting both production and exports.

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