Farmers in Chachoengsao hoping to make the most of the rice-pledging scheme have been hit with severe flooding.
"The government's rice-pledging scheme is pointless as vast agricultural areas have been flooded, leaving no agricultural produce for farmers to pledge," said Somnuek Chantharangkul, one of affected farmers in Chachoengsao's Khlong Khuean district. "Flood-affected rice farmers are eligible for a state compensation of some 1,000 rai per rai.
"Growers of other crops also receive the same rate. Now, costs of living are skyrocketing. Worse than this, our farmland is flooded. We will be left with nothing, only bones."
Waist-high flooding has ravaged vast agricultural areas in Khlong Khuean district, including Somnuek's 20 rai coconut plantation in tambon Bang Talard.
He feared that his maprao nam hom trees (coconut with fragrant juice) would die if the flooding continued.
Atthapol Laohong, village head of Village Group 6 in Khlong Khuean district, said his 50-rai paddy fields which were due to be harvested on Oct 27 had been inundated as overflow from the Bang Pakong River flooded his farmland.
In tambon Bang Talard alone, more than 1,000 rai of farmland had been damaged by flooding, the village head said.
Under compensation criteria for farmers hit by floods this year, affected farmers will be paid 1,133 baht in compensation per rai and the size of the farmland is limited to 30 rai, Mr Atthapol said. As he owed 50 rai of paddy fields, he would be given only 30,000 baht.
"I invested more than 100,000 baht for rice farming this time, but will be entitled to a state compensation assistance of only 30,000 baht," Mr Atthapol said. "Regardless of the sizes of their paddy fields, most farmers suffer huge losses this year. We have to buy rice seedlings for up to 20,000 baht, 30,000-40,000 baht for fertilisers and other fuel costs."
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