BAAC aims for coverage of 45.7m rai

BAAC aims for coverage of 45.7m rai

A rice farmer in the drought-stricken rice fields in Pathum Thani province.  (Photo by Wichan Charoen-kiatpakul)
A rice farmer in the drought-stricken rice fields in Pathum Thani province.  (Photo by Wichan Charoen-kiatpakul)

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) aims for up to 45.7 million rai of rice farmland to be covered by crop insurance for the 2020 season, a high-ranking BAAC official says.

Rice farmers who are the BAAC's debtors and who secured loans for plantations can take out crop insurance for free as the state subsidised 58 baht per rai and the bank absorbed the remaining 39 baht a rai, said Somkiat Kimawaha, executive vice-president.

For those who are not the bank's customers, they pay crop insurance based on risks. The bank's non-customer group with farmland in low-risk areas are charged 58 baht a rai, medium-risk areas at 210 baht per rai and high-risk areas at 230 baht a rai, while the government pays 58 baht per rai for them.

The scheme covers damage from seven natural disasters: floods, drought, storms, cold, hail, fires and wild elephants.

Farmers will receive compensation of 1,260 baht per rai this year in the case of crops damaged by natural disasters and 630 baht per rai in the event of pests and diseases.

To get higher protection consistent with the volatile climate conditions, the government encourages rice farmers to take out add-up insurance in which premiums are based on the growing area's risks.

The add-up insurance premiums are 24 baht per rai excluding duty stamp and value-added tax for low-risk areas, 48 baht for medium-risk ones and 101 baht for high-risk areas.

Rice growers who take out the add-up insurance will receive additional compensation of 240 baht per rai in cases where damage results from natural disasters and 120 baht per rai in the event of pests and diseases.

Some 1.9 million farmers took out crop insurance for the last crop year to provide coverage for 28.2 million rai of farmland, compared with 27.6 million in the previous year. Insurance premiums for the 2019 crop year amounted to 2.58 billion baht, up from 2.48 billion baht a year earlier.

Moreover, 90,000 farmers took out crop insurance for more than 15 rai, for which the government provided subsidy. The incremental area totalled 1.3 million rai of farmland.

Mr Somkiat said crop insurance is a means to alleviate impact from damages.

Interested farmers can take out crop insurance at the BAAC's branches across the country, he said.

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