BAAC allots B100bn for smart farms
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BAAC allots B100bn for smart farms

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) aims to lend 100 billion baht in the next two years to expand the smart farmer model to 4,500 communities nationwide, its chief says.

The bank's target for applying the model is 928 communities this year, said president Apirom Sukprasert.

The smart farmer initiative aims to maximise farmer capability by adopting technology to improve production capacity, management and marketing, upgrading them to become leaders in their hometowns.

The scheme is under the umbrella of the government's Pracha Rat policy.

The BAAC proposed the target to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana during his visits to Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Suphan Buri.

The bank supports the activities of rural people, from production to distribution through channels, said Mr Apirom.

The scheme uses market principles to set clear business plans and synchronise cooperation from the public and private sectors to offer knowledge and innovative technology to farmers, hoping to broaden market opportunities.

Mr Apirom said BAAC has provided loans to raise sugar cane production efficiency for retail farmers and institutions in Nong Sarai in Kanchanaburi. Most people in Nong Sarai have cultivated rice and sugar cane, but have not managed to add value to their products.

The BAAC charges borrowers 2%, while the government and the bank absorb the remaining cost of borrowing.

The bank offers low-rate loans for farmers to purchase drones used in farming and loans for supplementary occupations including organic fertiliser pellet manufacturing.

Moo Yai Dong Yang in Rachaburi is another potential smart farmer community, said Mr Apirom, adding people there developed the area to be a cultural tourism site to add value.

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