BAAC's B55bn fund empowers farmers

BAAC's B55bn fund empowers farmers

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has set up a 55-billion-baht fund for farmer rehabilitation, half of which is financed by the government.

The fund, which incorporates sufficiency economy principles, includes three projects that started in May and will run to March 1, 2022, said a source at the Finance Ministry.

A 400-billion-baht budget set for economic and social rehabilitation projects under the 1-trillion-baht borrowing scheme will be used to fund the government's contribution, the source said, adding that the Finance Ministry has already proposed the plan to a committee tasked with screening projects chaired by the National Economic and Social Development Council's secretary-general.

The three projects are food security at the community level, community business strengthening and grassroots economic sustainability.

Food security at the community level is a short-term but urgent scheme, aiming to provide career knowledge and create food security for farming household members hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme takes aim at 300,000 members of farming families to enable them to rely on themselves, the source said. It will also offer new-generation farmer loans to 500,000 borrowers and sufficiency loans to an additional 200,000 farmers.

The community business strengthening scheme is aimed at encouraging 16,000 community enterprises to alter their production processes and market management. Of the 32-billion-baht budget, 16 billion baht will subsidise up to 50% of community enterprise expenditure for production in the first year, while the remainder will go to investment in community enterprises at a maximum of 1 million baht each.

The grassroots economic sustainability scheme is to assist agricultural cooperatives, Village Funds, community enterprises, community financial organisations, social enterprises and farming operators in creating sustainable careers and income.

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