The Ministry of Commerce will expedite the disbursement of 20 billion baht this week after the Election Commission (EC) approved the budget and will start distributing 500,000 tons of rice on 10 March. Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn said he had received a letter from the EC approving the central budget of 20 billion baht to finance the rice subsidy program.
As for the previously approved budget of 712 million baht, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives would pay farmers with this budget starting this Monday. The farmers who were qualified to receive the payments were those had not yet been paid for their produce in the 2012/2013 crop year in Phetchabun, Uthai Thani, Prachin Buri, Ayutthaya and the southern part of Chachoengsao, the minister said.
Also on 10 March, the ministry will conduct a rice auction for 500,000 tons of rice—the first auction in March. Four rice auctions are scheduled each month—two normal auctions and two through the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand.