Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 9:16:22

Thailand approves 2.6 bln USD in loans to promote agricultural sector

VNA Print

People and birds share a small, dried-up reservoir in Thailand (Source: bangkokpost.com)

Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand's government on February 23 approved loans totalling 93 billion THB (2.6 billion USD) to help drought-hit agricultural areas and spur the country’s economy.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said around 70 billion THB will go to small-and medium-sized enterprises (SME) through the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) programme.

Each SME will be eligible to seek a maximum loan of 20 million baht at 4 percent interest from the first to the seventh year of debt repayment, he said.

The new measure is expected to benefit about 7,200 SMEs and help create jobs for approximately 21,000 people, he added.

Another six billion THB was approved to help about 500,000 farmers who are customers of the state-controlled Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

Each of these farmers is eligible to apply for a maximum loan of 12,000 THB, he said, adding that the interest rate will be zero percent in the first six months before rising to 4 percent from the seventh month.

Meanwhile, the third loan scheme was allocated 15 billion THB to fund soft loans to about 100,000 farmers in 26 provinces who intend to be part of the government's efforts to adjust the structure of the country's agricultural sector.

Over the past six months, a total of 1,893 villages in 12 provinces across Thailand have been declared as areas hit by seasonal drought.

The Government has encouraged farmers to switch to growing crops needing less water, while drilling thousands of wells and providing financial assistance for affected farmers.-VNA
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