While the debate surrounding the problematic rice-pledging scheme continues to swirl and grow increasingly political, the issue at heart remains in question: Is the scheme really necessary?
The agricultural sector contributes only about 8.6% to Thailand's gross domestic product (GDP), but it employs 38.2% of the population (about 25 million people). Of them, about 4.8 million households (18 million people) are rice farmers.
As the economy has moved increasingly from agriculture to industrial and services sectors, are conventional rice price subsidies still necessary?
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