Extension of fertiliser price cuts on the cards
The government is prepared to ask fertiliser makers to extend price cuts through June or August after persuading them to lower prices from March 7 to the end of May.
Chutima Bunyapraphasara, the acting commerce minister, said that if raw material costs stay unchanged, the government will ask manufacturers to extend the fertiliser price cuts until June or August, the period when rice farming begins.
Manufacturers have agreed since March 7 to cut prices of chemical and organic fertilisers by 30-50 baht per 50kg pack until the end of May, in a concerted effort to reduce farmers' production costs.
"This is such good news for farmers, as we [at the ministry] have succeeded in convincing the manufacturers to cut the prices of the finished chemical and organic fertilisers to farmers as dictated by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak," Ms Chutima said.
The price of finished chemical fertiliser used in rice farming was cut by 30 baht per pack for the 46-0-0 formula, by 40 baht for the 16-20-0 and 16-8-8 formulas and by 50 baht for the 16-16-8 formula.
The price of chemical fertiliser used for other crops, such as the 15-15-15 formula, was cut by 30 baht.
In addition, the Thai Commercial Bio-Organic Fertilizer Association has agreed to cut the price of its organic fertiliser by 50 baht per pack at a total amount of 150,000 tonnes.
Ms Chutima said six firms will procure low-priced fertiliser for the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry so that officials can make customised fertiliser for farmers.
In the preliminary stage, the Cooperative Promotion Department under the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry arranged a joint meeting of 47 farm cooperatives and fertiliser makers. Most of the farm cooperatives were willing to buy chemical and organic fertiliser at the prices sought from manufacturers by the Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department.
Fertiliser makes up 30% of agricultural production cost and affects 30 million farmers nationwide. The distribution of fertiliser is complex, and farmers are forced to buy fertiliser at high prices despite its status as a controlled commodity.
In addition, farmers mostly borrow to buy fertiliser, resulting in a greater financial burden.
The value of the local fertiliser market stands at 98 billion baht.