B1.7bn budget to cut second-crop rice output

B1.7bn budget to cut second-crop rice output

The cabinet has approved a budget of 1.68 billion baht to reduce rice output from the second crop by 1.95 million rai.

The goal is to create a balance between demand and supply in the rice market next year, said deputy agriculture minister Luck Wajananawat.

Farmers with not more than 15 rai per family will get a subsidy of 2,000 baht a rai to grow green manure crops, polyculture or forage crops instead of rice.

Mr Luck said the latest survey showed farmers, encouraged by more water supply, wanted to grow 13.6 million rai of rice in the second crop, up from 11.6 million rai in the previous poll.

The cabinet on Nov 21 approved a budget of 1.9 billion baht for the same purpose, targeting to cut the output by 1.05 million rai.

“We hope the measures will help stabilise prices,” Mr Luck said.

For rubber, Agriculture Minister Grisada Boonrach said the cabinet approved three measures proposed by the ministry to shore up prices. 

First, state agencies, especially the transport, tourism and interior ministries, will buy more rubber, especially for use in the construction of community roads.

Second, companies buying rubber from farmers for stockpiling would get an interest subsidy at not more than three percentage points when they borrow from eligible lenders, which extend a total credit line for the purpose of 20 billion baht. The interest subsidy is expected to total 600 million baht.

Third, farmland will be cut by 200,000 rai, to be replaced by substitute crops. A subsidy of 4,000 baht per farmer with not more than 10 rai will be provided.

Tapping will also be reduced from January to March next year to prevent 6,000 tonnes of output from hitting the market.

The measures will be reviewed by the Rubber Authority of Thailand before being sent back to the cabinet for further consideration.

Also on Tuesday, the cabinet approved a tax break for donor companies to “Pracha Rath” project, said Nathporn Chatusripitak, spokesman to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

They will be allowed to deduct the amount from for taxable incomes but not exceeding 5% of net profits while still are eligible for a tax deduction on educational donations.

The cabinet also approved the exemption of the interest income tax on savings at Islamic Bank which will strengthen Thailand's competitiveness in terms of financial services.

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