B200bn gets pledged for rice farmers

B200bn gets pledged for rice farmers

Measures similar to previous crop year

The government pledges to allocate at least 200 billion baht to finance aid measures for rice farmers for the 2018/2019 crop year, starting in November.

Chutima: Calling on farmers to register

Deputy Commerce Minister Chutima Buyapraphasara said the ministry is preparing to propose the state assistance measures covering 58.2 million rai of rice paddy to the Rice Policy and Management Committee meeting, being chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on July 11, for approval.

The rice measures are mostly identical to those offered for production in the 2017/2018 crop year, including a grant of 1,200 baht per rai for harvesting and price-quality improvement costs capped at 12,000 baht per family. Also included is 1,500 baht a tonne to participating farmers who agree to hold their paddy at their rice barns.

But Ms Chutima urged farmers to speed up registration with the Agriculture Ministry to make them eligible for government assistance.

Last year 4 million households registered with the Agriculture Ministry. So far, only 540,000 households have registered with the ministry.

She said the number was too low, making it hard for the government to design an assistance plan for them because of a lack of production data.

Last week, the premier told the Commerce, Interior and Agriculture ministries to work more closely together and map out an advanced comprehensive plan to stabilise farm prices.

Boonyarit Kalayanamit, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, quoted the premier as saying the plan would help prevent farmers from suffering volatile crop price swings.

Mr Boonyarit said the Commerce Ministry is scheduled to host the first joint meeting of the three ministries on June 28 to discuss agricultural zoning, promotion of factory processing in each area and cooperation with the private sector to help connect buyers with producers and add value to farm products.

One of the chronic factors for sluggish crop prices is mass production, whereby farmers are lured by short-term price hikes to produce the same crops en masse.

This eventually leads to oversupply and a price slump. Underlined and integrated cooperation among related ministries will help address the problems in a comprehensive manner, whether for rice, tapioca, corn, pineapples or garlic, he said.

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