Ministry seeks B11.4bn to aid farmers

Ministry seeks B11.4bn to aid farmers

Palm being grown on a farm. Mr Jurin said about 6.44 billion baht out of the total spending will be allocated to support oil palm farmers. (Photo: Assawin Pakawan)
Palm being grown on a farm. Mr Jurin said about 6.44 billion baht out of the total spending will be allocated to support oil palm farmers. (Photo: Assawin Pakawan)

The Commerce Ministry is poised to propose the cabinet approve a combined 11.4 billion baht to help oil palm and tapioca growers under the state-sponsored price guarantee schemes in the 2022/23 harvest season.

Speaking after a separate meeting of the subcommittee on palm oil and palm oil management and marketing and the panel handling tapioca management, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said about 6.44 billion baht out of the total spending will be allocated to support oil palm farmers.

Meanwhile, the remaining 5.03 billion baht will be allocated for the tapioca price guarantee scheme.

Under the price guarantee schemes which run for the fourth straight year, designed to ensure farmers' income and stabilise the prices of domestic oil palm, the guaranteed price for fresh palm nuts would be set at 4 baht per kilogramme as usual, with a limit of 25 rai of farmland per family.

The scheme runs from Sept 15, 2022, to August 2023 and is expected to benefit 380,000 planters.

To be eligible, planters must register with the Agriculture Extension Department, with the money deposited directly into their Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives accounts. Under the programme, farmers are paid only the difference when the price falls below the benchmark.

According to Mr Jurin, the meeting also yesterday endorsed parallel assistance measures to support crude palm oil exporters at 2 baht per kilogramme on the condition that crude palm oil stocks in the country exceed 300,000 tonnes and the domestic price of crude palm oil is higher than the world market. This support will run until September 2023.

In addition, Mr Jurin said the meeting said it is imperative to promote the use of oil palm in the country by adjusting the formula of biodiesel from B5 to B7 to address the palm oil price slump.

In a separate development, the tapioca management and policy committee's meeting chaired by Mr Jurin also approved 5.03 billion baht to support the tapioca price guarantee scheme for the 2022/23 season.

The scheme offers the price guarantee for tapioca farmers at 2.50 baht per kg, limited to 100 tonnes per family, running from Dec 1, 2022, to November 2023.

The meeting also approved parallel support measures including a 3% interest rate subsidy to farmers who secure loans for tapioca plantations and a 3% interest rate subsidy to farming institutes which agree to keep their stocks during the period of a massive harvest to prevent a price slump.

Other measures include a 3% interest rate subsidy to tapioca drying grounds, tapioca flour factories or ethanol production facilities which agree to keep their stocks and process tapioca into tapioca chips, flour or ethanol and maintain their stocks for 3-6 months.

The meeting also agreed to establish two subcommittees, one to oversee productivity and another to supervise marketing domestically and internationally.

The government aims to increase tapioca productivity to not less than 5 tonnes per rai in 2024 from only 3.48 tonnes per rai.

Thailand is expected to produce about 35.8 million tonnes of tapioca in the 2022/23 harvest season, while demand is estimated at 42.5 million.


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