Farmer subsidy sign-ups outpace budgeted funds
Extra B2.6bn needed to meet farmer demand
At least 2.6 billion baht must be added to the subsidy scheme for rice farmers after the number of participants was higher than expected, says the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).
The number of farmer households signing up for the scheme exceeded the target by 90,000, totalling 4.4 million, so an additional 2.6-billion-baht budget is required, said BAAC president Apirom Sukprasert.
Even more funds could eventually be sought because some farmers in southern areas have yet to register, he said.
Typically, rice in the South is harvested a few months later than in other regions.
The government's farm aid measures include price guarantees for certain crops.
Officials earlier budgeted 24.8 billion baht for subsidies in the 2018-19 crop season that started last November, aimed at 4.31 rice farming families who delayed paddy sales to stabilise prices.
Under the scheme, the government has given grants of 500 baht per rai per household for up to 20 rai of farmland.
The government's income guarantee for farmers offers crop price guarantees for rice, rubber, tapioca, oil palm and corn. These products involve the vast majority of the nation's rural population.
The cabinet agreed to allocate 13 billion baht to guarantee the price of fresh palm nuts at four baht a kilogramme, limited to 25 rai per family, in the 2019-20 crop year.
The price of white rice paddy is also guaranteed at 10,000 baht a tonne for a maximum of 30 tonnes per household, while the guaranteed price for Pathum Thani rice paddy is set at 11,000 baht a tonne for a maximum of 25 tonnes per household.
Two further types of paddy are in the price-guarantee programme: Thai hom mali and glutinous rice with 15% moisture content.
The guaranteed price for hom mali is set at 15,000 baht a tonne with a cap of 14 tonnes per household, and that of glutinous rice is set at 12,000 baht a tonne for up to 16 tonnes per family.