Government to reform farming sector this year

The government has hailed 2018 as the year for agricultural reform with goals to make those in the sector better livelihood and earn more from their crops, with rice and rubber on the priorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said during a meeting with agencies in charge of farm sector yesterday (Jan 4) that 2018 will be the year of major reforms in the agricultural sector and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives will be tasked for the job as it affects significant reforms in the agriculture sector.

One of the tasks include cutting down interest rate for indebted farmers to 7% within the first quarter of this year.

He said the main imperative of the directive was to employ marketing mechanisms and online sales to induce dramatic changes within a year.

Mr Somkid said efforts to drive up rice and rubber prices will be priorities that must be accomplished as quickly as possible as there are all together nearly 30 million farmers involved in these 2 commodities alone and any benefits gained here will trickle down to the middle class.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisda Boonrach said the ministry will propose the cabinet to approve a plan to cut down rubber trees on 1,500,000 rai of plantations immediately in order to reduce oversupply.

This will help improve rubber prices from 46-47 baht/kg to 80-100 baht/kg, he said, adding that there are 22 million rai of rubber plantations in the country.

This also applies to rubber trees currently planted on state land granted by the Treasury Department.

He said that after this policy is implemented and national rubber stocks are maintained at adequate levels and no change is seen in rubber prices, the ministry will then have no choice but to absorb rubber into the national controlled commodities list.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)