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

Thailand's rice mountain continues to grow, and critics say the government may be forced to abandon its guarantee to buy farmers' crops.

"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.