A Thai farmers harvest rice (Photo: Thai Visa)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Government of Thailand will build 1,000 large-scale rice farms in 2017.

The programme aims to reduce production cost, enhance efficiency and competitiveness of Thai rice in the international market.

In September 2016, the country’s Ministries of Commerce, Internal Affairs, Agriculture and Cooperatives signed a cooperation agreement to implement the programme.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chutima Bunyapraphasara said the programme will be implemented in three models depending on geographical locations and participants’ demand.

Model 2.0 will be the traditional rice farming with effective management and marketing. Model 3.0 will apply technology and grow rice with good quality to supply for the manufacturing industry, while model 4.0 will use advanced technology to reduce production cost. The Thai Government plans to call for investment in developing the model 4.0.

The programme, worth 87 million USD, was initiated in 2016, under which farmers are encouraged to contribute their land for building large-scale rice farms. Participating farmers will receive a loan up to five million THB (141,725) at a preferential rate of 0.01 percent from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

In 2016, the programme was implemented on 150,400 hectares, with the participation of 63,000 farmers.

In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand plans to get 9,000 more farmers involved in the programme and 17,600 hectares.-VNA