The National Rice Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday approved a rice price guarantee scheme for the 2020-21 crop year, offering guaranteed prices at the same rates as during the previous season.
Rachada Dhanadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, said the annual 2020-21 scheme, which will be implemented between Sept 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021, is expected to use a budget of 85 billion baht.
Some 23.5 billion baht will be assigned to price guarantees, 56 billion baht to support management and quality development costs for farmers, and 5.72 billion baht to subsidise the interest rate for loans extended to stabilise domestic rice prices.
If 30.3 billion baht worth of loans to be issued by the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives is included, the scheme will total 115 billion baht, Ms Rachada said.
The scheme covers five main types of rice: white rice paddy with 15% moisture, hom mali rice paddy, fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy with 15% moisture, glutinous rice paddy with 15% moisture and provincial fragrant rice paddy.
The rice price guarantee offers compensation if market prices fall below the benchmark.
Under the scheme, farmers will be offered 10,000 baht a tonne for white rice paddy with 15% moisture, limited to 30 tonnes per family or 40 rai.
The guaranteed prices are set at 15,000 baht a tonne for hom mali rice paddy, limited to 14 tonnes per family or 40 rai; 11,000 baht a tonne of fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy with 15% moisture for a limit of 25 tonnes per family or 40 rai; 12,000 baht a tonne for glutinous rice paddy with 15% moisture with a limit of 16 tonnes or 40 rai; and 14,000 baht a tonne for provincial fragrant rice paddy with a limit of 16 tonnes per family or 40 rai.
Ms Rachada said the Commerce Ministry will propose the scheme for cabinet approval soon.
In a related development, the ministry reported to the committee that Thailand was the third-largest rice exporter, with 3.15 million tonnes shipped, for the period of Jan 1 to July 8. India was the world's top rice exporter in the period, with 4.65 million tonnes, followed by Vietnam with 4.17 million tonnes.
Pakistan and the US were the fourth- and fifth-largest exporters at a respective 2.07 million and 1.61 million tonnes.
Charoen Laothammatas, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said earlier this week that rice export prospects looked murky in the second half amid sluggish global demand caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The association has set a full-year rice export target of 7.5 million tonnes but is scheduled to adjust the target on July 22.
Thailand shipped 7.58 million tonnes of rice worth 131 billion baht in 2019, down 32% and 25% from 2018.