PHUKET: The main highway linking Bangkok to Phuket and the rest of Southern Thailand has been closed by rice farmers protesting the government’s failure to pay for rice produced and delivered under the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

The blockade is in effect on Petchkasem Road in Ratchaburi, about 100km west of Bangkok.

State news agency MCOT reported that the farmers staging the blockade are from the provinces Ratcha Buri, Kanchanaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchburi, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Songkram and Suphan Buri.