The government on Tuesday began the disbursement of 1,000 baht per rai — limited to 20,000 baht per household — to rice farmers as part of its support scheme for the 2023-24 harvest season.
Speaking after the event, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said farmers from various provinces have already started to receive and withdraw the funds.
The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will gradually transfer the funds to farmers’ accounts nationwide within five days, he said.
According to Mr Phumtham, the disbursement of 1,000 baht per rai to rice farmers is part of a project supporting the management and development of the quality of rice production, with a combined outlay of 56.3 billion baht, as proposed by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.
The scheme will cover a group of eligible rice farmers who have registered with the Agricultural Extension Department, which tallies about 4.68 million households nationwide.
The scheme to support the quality development of rice through the provision of 1,000 baht per rai to farmers won the cabinet’s approval on Nov 14.
The scheme was one of the government’s rice support measures for rice farmers in the 2023/24 season.
The cabinet approved rice support measures on Nov 7 worth 55 billion baht, including loans to farmers to delay the sale of paddy rice with a moisture level of 25% for a period of five months, as well as loans to agricultural cooperatives to intervene in the market to buy paddy rice until prices become more favourable.
Under the measure for farmers to delay the sale of their paddy rice for five months, the government offers participants 12,000 baht per tonne and an additional 1,500 baht per tonne for storage.
The Commerce Ministry estimates paddy rice production for the 2023-24 crop year at 32 million tonnes, with rice paddy from the main crop tallying 25.6 million tonnes, down 6% from the previous crop, and rice paddy production from the off-season crop totalling 6.78 million tonnes, representing a 12% decrease.
Mr Phumtham insisted this scheme is just an immediate measure for this year, and over the coming years the government would seek ways to adjust and enhance the level of support related to elevating rice production to aid farmers.