Worker in Thai rice field
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Thai rice plan stores up a mountain of problems

"Please don't worry. The Commerce Ministry is trying its best".

Those were the words of a government minister in Thailand as he announced that China had cancelled a contract to buy more than a million tonnes of rice.

The deal would have been the first stage of a much bigger sale to help reduce Thailand's rice mountain.

Under a government scheme, rice is bought from Thai farmers at a guaranteed price.

But as the mountain grows and the government finds itself having to sell the rice at a loss, critics say the scheme may eventually be abandoned.

Jonathan Head reports from Bangkok.

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