Farmers in EEC areas to get support from state
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office vows to accelerate farm development in EEC areas to increase the income of farmers in Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.
According to Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, farm development aims to narrow the income gap of people in the non-farming and farming sector in EEC areas.
The EEC Policy Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Oct 4 approved a draft of farm sector development for EEC areas between 2023-2027. The plan is being jointly prepared by the EEC Office and Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.
Mr Kanit said the agency plans to use technology and innovation to upgrade the potential of farm products in these areas, a move that aligns with the government's policy to drive the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy.
"Technology and market access are the best solutions to increase incomes in the farming sector," he said, adding the government has set a lofty goal to raise the income in the farming sector to be on a par with that of the industry and service sectors by 2037.
The strategy to achieve the ambitious goal includes the use of high technology to increase the productivity of the farming sector and the application of innovation and market access upgrade to increase the value of farm products as well as human resource development.
The plan aims to develop five clusters of herbs; fruits; fishery; farm products for the bio-economy; and high-valued farm products.
Fruit clusters will be developed at an appropriate location in Rayong and Chachoengsao with upgrades in productivity, processing, and market access of key fruit products including durians, mangosteens, mangoes, jackfruits and young coconuts.
The herb cluster will focus on herbs that can be developed into food additives, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They include fah talai jone (andrographis paniculata) or green chireta; turmeric, Asiatic pennywort, fingerroot and cassumunar ginger (plai).
In the first phase, the agency will encourage farmers to grow herbs on the land of the Agriculture Land Reform Office with factories or greenhouses also to be established.
Meanwhile, the fishery cluster aims to raise aqua animals, including white shrimp, lobster, pla nil (Nile tilapia), snakeskin gourami, crocodile and sea crab, with the target location in Chachoengsao and Rayong provinces.
The agency also plans to upgrade the local Lan Po Naklua Market in northern Pattaya and Bang Lamung district to become a tourist and key seafood market in the EEC.
Mr Kanit said aqua animal farming should be a closed system while the government pledges to support farmers.
A cluster of farm products that will be used as raw materials for the bioeconomy includes tapioca, which now is being grown and promoted in Chachoengsao province. The plan aims to upgrade the productivity of farm products in order to supply ethanol production and a bio-plastic factory.
A cluster of high-value products, meanwhile, aims to promote high-quality cattle farming and organic eggs.