New Year’s gifts planned for farmers

Rice, rubber, palm oil, and livestock farmers will expect better livelihood next year as the government says it will be launching a plan that will provide comprehensive solution to problems afflicting the farming sector as New Year's gifts to farmers.

This was disclosed yesterday by deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak after a meeting with economic team comprising ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Interior and the head of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives

The plan provides farmers with greater access to marketing, production (growing) and distribution information relevant to the country's main economic crops such as rice, rubber, palm and livestock.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid said that the meeting agreed to set up a war room team made up of specialists in each area to come up with a comprehensive solution for the country's farming sector.

They include production, marketing, community tourism as well as agricultural credit.

The main purpose is to provide farmers with direct access to vital information critical for their livelihood such as market demand and market prices so that they are able to make the necessary change in their yearly planting plans in accordance with market forces.

The plan will be sent to the cabinet for approval once everything has been worked out, he said.

Expectation was that it will be implementedcwithin the next three months.

But he said the rubber farmers will expect priority as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been ordered to implement measures to raise rubber prices to exceed existing production overheads as quickly as possible.

The ministry has begun buying up rubber at recently adjusted prices from the previous 42 -43 baht per kilogram to 47 � 48 baht.

Other government departments have also been encouraged to make rubber procurements of their own which will in total help to absorb more than 100,000 tons which is hoped to drive market prices up to exceed the current 51.28 baht

Meanwhile the Ministry of Energy is also trying to reduce the huge raw palm oil stockpile which currently at the highest recorded level of 540,000 tons by converting them to bio diesel.

The record stockpile was attributed mainly to an increase in local production from 2 million tons to 2.4 million tons a year.

The bio-diesel produced will be used for electricity generation to offset current electricity production costs which are very high.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)