State vows to continue farmers' income scheme
The government vows to continue the farmers' income guarantee scheme for the fourth year after having splurged 450-500 billion baht in the last three years to ensure farmers' income amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also pledges to promote measures to increase farmers' profits by focusing on supporting and upgrading high-value products under the bio-economy development strategy.
Speaking on Monday at a seminar, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the farmers' income guarantee scheme is a very important tool to help ensure the income of farmers who grow rice, cassava, rubber, oil palm and maize and enable them to overcome the price slump and economic difficulties caused by the pandemic over the last couple of years.
Under the income guarantee scheme, farmers will receive the difference between insured prices and benchmark prices that change periodically in line with market prices.
The price guarantee scheme offers compensation to farmers if market prices fall below the benchmark.
"Agriculture is an important sector for Thailand's economy. We must continue to support and should not ignore or disvalue the agriculture sector and leave farmers behind," said Mr Jurin.
"Without the agriculture sector, many countries during the Covid-19 crisis have been locked into big trouble, as they have no agricultural supply to consume. Thai people remain lucky, as we at least have rice to eat and agricultural products for consumption during the crisis."
According to Mr Jurin, the Commerce Ministry also vows to develop and mingle soft power into all production and services, especially in the service sector, starting with digital content in animation, movies and cartoons.
Wattanasak Sur-iam, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said agricultural prices overall are expected to rise this year driven by the world's economic recovery and growing bio-plastic and bio-chemical industries.
The government itself vows to develop the bio-economy, as more than 30 million people work in the farm sector, yet most remain in poverty.
According to Mr Wattanasak, while the income guarantee scheme focuses on the farmers' income and price stability, the ministry is set to launch assistance measures in parallel to reduce farmers' production costs, increase farm product yields and upgrade the product quality.