BANGKOK (AP) — The Thai Cabinet has extended rice subsidies widely criticized for high costs and knocking the country from its spot as world’s biggest rice exporter.

Pic: AP.

Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat Na Ranong said Tuesday the Cabinet approved a total budget of 270 billion baht ($8.4 billion) to buy rice at above-market prices from farmers for another year.

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Under the renewed program, farmers will be paid 15,000 baht ($467) per ton. The government will cap the total value for each qualifying household at 350,000 baht ($10,890) per household.

The government said the scheme has accumulated losses of at least $4.46 billion since it was introduced in 2011, but its attempt to lower the payments faced resistance from farmers, whose votes can decide elections.