The National Oil Palm Policy Committee decided to keep the price of fresh palm nuts stable at a meeting yesterday but vowed to find ways to reduce the stockpile.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, who chaired the meeting, said the buying price of palm nuts will remain at 4 baht/kg for nuts with 17% oil content and 4.35 baht/kg for 18.5% oil nuts.
A reported compromise reached on Dec 12 set the price at 5 baht/kg, in response to farmers' calls for a 6 baht/kg minimum, but this was not subsequently confirmed.
The announcement of the current price being maintained will disappoint farmers.
About 3,000 palm growers blocked Phetkasem Road in Chumphon's Tha Sae district last week to call for the government to help shore up the price.
Mr Kittiratt said officials will keep a close watch on the palm stockpile, which is expected to rise next month.
He said measures have been devised to reduce the palm inventory. Palm exporters will be given incentives to spur export flow, Mr Kittiratt said.
The committee also assigned the Internal Trade Department to monitor the palm inventory, Mr Kittiratt said. The palm nut stockpile is currently at a "proper" level, he said.
The minister said two sub-committees working on palm marketing and production will be set up to work with the ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Energy and Commerce.
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- Writer: Patsara Jikkham