Thai rice farmer Pakasit Jamjaras usually spends his days tilling soil, just like his forefathers. Now he’s been harvesting signatures instead of grain, with a petition to King Bhumibol Adulyadej because the government hasn’t paid for his crop in five months.
Thailand’s government is expanding a rice-buying program it says will bring in more cash for the grain as exporters blame the policy for putting the country’s 30-year reign as the world’s top shipper at risk.
Rice shipments from India, the world’s largest producer after China, will probably expand to a record as buyers from Iran to Saudi Arabia boost purchases of aromatic basmati grain used in biryani and pilaf dishes.
Rice prices in Thailand, the biggest exporter, may jump 50 percent by the end of the year under a plan by the party favored to win the July 3 election to buy the grain directly from farmers, said millers and traders.
The Thai baht’s rally to the highest level in 16 years is hindering exports from the world’s biggest rice shipper, curbing the government’s efforts to diminish record state stockpiles and threatening to increase its losses.