World Bulletin / News Desk
Although agriculture represents just 12 percent of the country's GDP, it remains the occupation of 40 percent of the population, making farmers a key constituency for politicians.
Talking to reporters Friday outside of a Bangkok courthouse, Shinawatra said that the current rice price drop should not be made into a political matter.
The ex-premier is currently on trial accused of negligence by the current military government in spearheading a rice subsidy program that cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars and was allegedly rife with corruption.
"All parties involved should be focused on alleviating the suffering of the farmers," she said.
With the market price for rice dropping to $143 per ton -- the lowest in decades -- the military government has come under pressure from the agricultural sector to introduce subsidy programs, similar to the ones under the Shinawatra government.
Shinawatra has in recent weeks hosted several public events where rice sells at higher than market rates.
Critics, however, have accused the former premier of using the events for publicity and politicizing a national crisis.