Ministry preps plans for farm production, prices

Ministry preps plans for farm production, prices

The Commerce Ministry pledges to handle agricultural production and price management, especially for cassava and palm oil, as the income guarantee scheme for these crops was not extended, awaiting the new government's policy.

Udom Srisomsong, deputy director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the agency has prepared plans to cope with agricultural production and price management, including "adequate" measures to support farmers.

"We believe the current agricultural production and prices are manageable as market prices are generally good. Farmers are unlikely to be affected during the transition before a new government is formed," said Mr Udom.

He said the price of maize for animal feed is 11.95 baht per kilogramme, exceeding the guaranteed price of 8.50 baht per kg. The price of palm oil is 5.80 baht per kg, higher than the guaranteed price of 4 baht per kg, while cassava is quoted at 3.90 baht per kg, above the guaranteed price of 2.50 baht per kg.

Mr Udom said the measures include delaying farmers and operators from selling their products if there is a glut, supporting credit facilities for farmers and private sector purchases of agricultural products, boosting exports and organising marketplaces for farmers.

For example, this year's rice exports are expected to reach 8 million tonnes, resulting in favourable domestic rice prices, he said.

The current government implemented income guarantee schemes for five crops over four years: paddy rice, cassava, maize, oil palm and rubber. A combined budget of 299 billion baht was approved, and as of May 19, 218 billion baht was disbursed to 8.13 million eligible farmers.

Mr Udom said the schemes have helped farmers increase their income, particularly in the fourth year. As of yesterday, a budget of only 8.15 billion baht has been disbursed this year, he said.

In the past three years, the average budget disbursement ranged from 50-80 billion baht.

The decrease in disbursement is attributed to favourable crop prices for cassava, maize for animal feed, and palm oil. Only rubber and rice require compensation, said Mr Udom.

The government approved a budget of 162 billion baht for the rice paddy income guarantee scheme this year, but only 7.8 billion baht has been used.

Regarding cassava, maize for animal feed, and palm oil, their market prices are higher than the guaranteed prices.

The cassava and palm oil income guarantee schemes were not renewed by the cabinet, despite receiving approval from the Cassava Policy Committee and Palm Oil Policy Committee, because the crop prices are higher than the insurance prices.

The income guarantee scheme for farmers offers compensation if the prices of the five farm crops fall below the benchmark prices set by the government.

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