The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will increase its role as an intermediary to facilitate the export of high-value agricultural products to help farmers earn more income, says president Chatchai Sirilai.
Mr Chatchai, the newly appointed president of the BAAC, said the bank aims to promote a new generation of farmers by developing quality products rather than focusing on quantity.
He said the development of agricultural products should begin with a target market because the prices of farm commodities produced in significant amounts will decline if there is not a market.
Technology should be adopted for production and distribution of agricultural products, particularly the integration of automation into agriculture using digital platforms, which can provide various benefits such as increased agricultural efficiency, reduced costs, improved crop yields and higher production capacity, said Mr Chatchai.
He said these benefits can be attributed to the close links the industry has developed with the academic sector.
The bank will help farmers via both financial assistance and marketing, said Mr Chatchai.
In terms of marketing, the bank plans to act as an intermediary for cross-border trade by facilitating business matching between agricultural exporters and foreign buyers, he said.
This should give farmers more bargaining power, resulting in higher income for farmers, said Mr Chatchai.
He cited as an example marigold farmers that offer a farm price of around 2-3 baht per unit, compared with the retail price of 10 baht per unit. The bank will intervene to stabilise farm prices with less market price distortion, said Mr Chatchai.
The BAAC aims to be a sustainable rural development bank by supporting farmers in all aspects, including production, product value addition and marketing support.
The bank wants to elevate farmers' incomes to the same level as urban occupations, he said.
The BAAC also supports building skills for farmers to improve their quality of life and be proud of their profession, said Mr Chatchai.
In a related development, the bank established an Office of Foreign Affairs to enhance productivity and connectivity of Thai farmers at the international level, including selling produce abroad in cooperation with the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) through business-matching activities.
In parallel, the bank provides customers of ADBC with direct access to a source of raw materials and production at fair prices from upstream producers.
Moreover, the bank is a member of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, a regional grouping that promotes productivity and improves access to financial services through a network of knowledge-sharing and learning, capacity building, research and exchange of expertise.