The smuggling rice seeds from Burma has become so lucrative that villagers in Mae Sot, Tak province, have bought more than 300 pickup trucks to do the job.

Villagers cashing in on riceseed scam
By The Nation
Published on April 2, 2009

Every night around 80 trucks are driven to a rendezvous location after corrupt officials are paid around Bt2 million, a military source said.

The smuggled rice seeds are then illegally pawned under a government priceintervention scheme with the help of corrupt officials. The rice mills and cooperatives then benefit from money generated from smuggled seeds, the existence of which is never recorded.

A source from a network of rice cooperatives in Mae Sot district said smuggling was supported by rice traders from central provinces who hired villagers to carry rice across the border. The smugglers have been operating for quite a while now thanks to the help of corrupt kamnan and village heads.

The smuggling has reduced after a series of military campaigns that began last year. A local military taskforce has since seized 135 tonnes of smuggled rice seeds.

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