State to extend rice price scheme

State to extend rice price scheme

B88bn set aside for third year of the programme

Under the income guarantee plan, farmers receive the difference between insured rice prices and benchmark prices.
Under the income guarantee plan, farmers receive the difference between insured rice prices and benchmark prices.

The government looks set to extend the rice price guarantees in the 2021-22 season, pledging to splurge 88 billion baht for the annual scheme operating for the third consecutive year.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Rice Policy Subcommittee on marketing, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the group agreed to continue the rice price guarantee scheme in the 2021-22 season, using the same criteria as the previous season, as well as measures to maintain rice price stability.

Of the total spending, 80 billion baht is allocated to the price guarantee scheme, with the remaining 8 billion for price stability.

He said the decision will be submitted to the National Rice Policy Committee meeting chaired by the premier, then sent for cabinet approval.

Under the income guarantee plan, farmers receive the difference between insured rice prices and benchmark prices that change every two weeks in line with market prices.

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.

Under the scheme, farmers are 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 for fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy with 15% moisture, for up to 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.

According to Mr Jurin, in the 2021/22 season running from October to February next year, Thailand is expected to produce as much as 26 million tonnes of paddy, up 4% from the current season thanks to sufficient rainfall and higher plantation as Covid caused farm workers to return to their family homes and grow more rice.

He said although the spending plan for the new season is much higher than the 55 billion baht earmarked for the current season, real spending could be much lower than the approved budget.

In a related development, Mr Jurin said he ordered the Foreign Trade Department to speed up talks with China on purchasing more rice through a government-to-government (G2G) deal.

In June, China agreed to buy 20,000 tonnes of white rice from Thailand through a G2G deal.

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