B10bn for cassava income guarantee

B10bn for cassava income guarantee

The Commerce Ministry will seek a 10-billion-baht budget to manage its cassava income guarantee plan for the 2013/2014 season.

Planters are set to receive between 2.60 to three baht per kilogramme of cassava. If market prices are lower, the state will pay to offset the losses, said Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach.

The income guarantee plan will replace the current pledging scheme in which the government used 27 billion baht, including 4 billion in management costs, to buy about 10 million tonnes of cassava from growers.

Mr Yanyong estimated 28 million tonnes of cassava would be harvested next crop, benefitting 500,000 planters.

He said the change helps prevent planters from harvesting all at the same time, which could result in market prices declining.

"When they know what prices or income they will earn, farmers don't have to rush to harvest cassava early in the season, normally from December to March," he said.

He said the plan is supported by local planters, as local prices of the root may not increase much from their current level of 2.25 to 2.50 baht per kg.

After a meeting yesterday, Teerachart Soeikratok, secretary-general of the E-Sarn Cassava Association, believes the new scheme will benefit more planters, as only 133,000 gained from pledging.

The meeting also discussed marketing plans and how the Commerce Ministry will explore new markets, including pushing the Energy Ministry to buy more cassava to make ethanol.

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