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Ex-finance minister Korn hit back at government spokesman

Former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij of the Democrat party hit back at government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd for accusing politicians who offered recommendations on rice price issue of being opportunists bent on capturing media's space to paint the government in a negative light for doing nothing to help rice farmers.

In his Facebook post in response to the spokesman's offending remark, Korn said that the government should be open-minded and receptive to divergent opinions and also to be able to distinguish between friend and foe.

He pointed out that there are several other policies to shore up rice prices and to help the farmers which are good policies and should benefit the farmers.

The government, he said, should not sow seed of division and should be aware that there are still other sectors of the society which have loyalty and good intentions toward the country.

On rice issue, Korn claimed that he was the Democrat party's chief policy maker and that his team has been working on the issue continuously and has collected information from all academics, rice farmers and representatives who are familiar with the rice issue.

As for himself, he said that he started the Khao Im project in Maha Sarakham province and has been involved with it for four years and, hence, he feels he is resourceful enough as far as the rice issue is concerned.

Pointing out that farmers today don't earn enough to cover their expenses as their revenue from rice sale was below costs, Korn said his team had proposed the government to guarantee the incomes of farmers.

The proposal calls for the government paying the price differential between the selling price and cost price directly into the bank accounts of individual farmers; government paying 1,200 baht per rai for up to 20 rai the harvest cost and rice quality improvement cost to farmers and providing credits to farmers to delay their sale of rice until market price is favourable with the government paying

interest incurred from the credits on behalf of the farmers.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)