73,000 farmers to receive Covid-19 aid on appeal

73,000 farmers to receive Covid-19 aid on appeal

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will on Wednesday transfer Covid-19 financial aid to some 73,000 farmers who have passed the appeal review process, said a top agricultural official.

Agriculture and Cooperatives permanent secretary Anan Suwanrat said the ministry's appeal panel has examined almost 190,000 appeals lodged by farmers and approved 73,975, bringing the total number of farmers eligible for Covid-19 cash handouts to 7,596,747.

Mr Anan said the farmers whose appeals have been successful will receive their payment tomorrow. He noted that 10,284 requests are still under review.

He said that more than 105,000 appeals had been rejected because the applicants had either already received financial aid from other Covid-19 relief schemes, were state officials or were insured with the Social Security Fund.

The cabinet on April 28 approved a 150-billion-baht fund to help 10 million farmers affected by Covid-19's economic repercussions. They will have 5,000 baht transferred to their accounts every month until July.

The financial aid is transferred through the BAAC because up to 7 million farmers are customers of the state-backed farmers' bank. The BAAC will transfer the last payment of 37.98 billion baht between July 15-22.

The cash handout to eligible farmers is one among several relief measures funded by the government's 1-trillion-baht emergency loan scheme.

According to Mr Anan, the ministry has joined hands with the Royal Thai Air Force to help farmers exchange their goods across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Known as the "Air Operation for Social Enterprise Scheme", the operation has already helped to exchange nine tonnes of Kor Khor 105 rice in Yasothon for 36 tonnes of dried fish in Phuket and 10 tonnes of rice and mangoes in Phayao for 3.48 tonnes of mangosteen, kapi and fish in Phangnga.

He said the scheme is intended to help farmers whose exports have been halted by the virus outbreak and local transportation restricted by the recent lockdown measures.

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