Rice cultivation accounts to significant portion of economy and the country. But today the farmers in Thailand are anxious and are battling against the national government due to the collapse of Rice pledging program. Whereas Philippines is facing the challenge of smuggling of unabated rice.
In 2011, Prime Minister YingluckShinawatra introduced the rice subsidy program in order to improve the conditions of farmers and increase their savings, but the government incurred huge loss on the program six months ago and hence tapered the subsidy assuring the farmers regarding the payment of their products. But the payments lingered and have already reached to 130 billion baht debt.
Annoyed farmers have protested on the streets of Bangkok with support of opposition demanding the payment, due which there is political unrest and have put allegations on Yingluck government for corruption.
The government has guaranteed the farmers that payments will be done and has denied the criticism of the rice subsidy program by saying that the aim of the program is to upgrade the farmers and build a better future for rice farming.
Whereas in Philippines, rice smuggling has again heated up political unrest after it was reported that 50,000 metric tons of rice was sneaked into the country. The government has initiated the investigation against the suspected smugglers. Need of the hour is to stamp out of corruption in importation program.
Both these cases of Thailand and Philippines indicate that how Rice is an important commodity, which can affect political and social environment of the country.