State allots B70bn to stabilise paddy prices

State allots B70bn to stabilise paddy prices

Annual harvest to hit market this month

A farmer harvests rice in a paddy field in Pathum Thani province. Pongpat Wongyala
A farmer harvests rice in a paddy field in Pathum Thani province. Pongpat Wongyala

The government has set aside 70 billion baht to shore up paddy prices, as the annual harvest is scheduled to flood the market this month.

Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the latest meeting of the subcommittee handling national rice policy and management chaired by Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit last week approved the schemes worth a combined 70 billion baht.

The programmes cover a loan scheme for farmers who agree to delay their paddy; a loan scheme for agricultural cooperatives to gather rice and add value to the grain; soft loans for farmers, farm institutes, agricultural cooperatives and community enterprises to build rice barns and delay paddy sales to stabilise rice prices; and the 3% interest rate subsidy programme for rice traders who agree to hold their stocks for 2-6 months.

The loan scheme for farmers who agree to delay paddy sales will cost an estimated 10 billion baht, and the loan scheme for farm institutes including agricultural cooperatives to gather rice and add value to rice will cost 15 billion baht.

Under the loan scheme for farmers who agree to delay their paddy sales, the government will grant 1,500 baht a tonne with no limits to farmers who keep paddy at their own rice barns. Farmers keeping their output at a farming institute get 500 baht a tonne, while farming institutes get 1,000 baht a tonne.

Farmers are also entitled to earn 11,000 baht per tonne for hom mali rice grown in northeastern provinces and certain provinces in the North, 8,700 baht a tonne for glutinous rice and 9,900 baht a tonne for hom mali grown in other areas, if they bring their output to pledge with the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives under the barn-pledging scheme.

The programmes are effective immediately as the national rice policy committee chaired by the prime minister already approved them in principle.

The Agricultural Economics Office predicts Thailand's annual paddy production to stay at 24.5 million tonnes in 2019-20, down 2.78% from the 25 million tonnes in the previous season.


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