Three leading rice experts altogether meet the government officials and convinced the government to either revise the Rice Pledging Scheme or replace it with the direct-pay scheme.

Former deputy prime minister and central bank chief MR Pridiyathorn Devakula has joined hands with Ammar Siamwalla, one of the country’s top researchers, and scholar Nipon Puapongsakorn, who is with the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), try to change the highly controversial policy in Thailand.

Pridiyathorn and Nipon joined a seminar yesterday on the rice scheme hosted by the Puey Ungpakorn Institute.

They said that the scheme is not at all beneficial for the farmers and also has led the country at least Bt425 billion in losses over the past two seasons.

“The government should not proceed with the third year of pledging scheme, but shift if at the same time it shifts to the directly paying farmers will resolve the problem, as it has already done recently to solve the falling price of rubber,” he said.

The government spent Bt678 billion for rice pledging in the two harvest seasons.

Unveiling the truth story behind the Scheme, Pridiyathorn told to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra based on data from the Finance Ministry’s Post Audit Committee, showed that farmers gained only Bt210.12 billion but other people who should not have benefited gained Bt115.8 billion from the two-year project.

If the prime minister allowed the third year of pledging to go ahead, it would clearly show she has led the country to financial disaster, Pridiyathorn said.

Although the pledging scheme could benefits the farmers but, there were other ways to help farmers and avoid huge losses or payments to other people, he said. Unlike the price guarantee, a direct payment to farmers would ensure that every farmer gets equal payment.