Thailand: 3-point plan proposed as alternative to price-guarantee scheme hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA)
Thailand’s Cooperative Promotion Department (CPD) has come up with a three-point plan to fix the problem of farmers’ debts instead of having them rely on the government’s price-guarantee policy.

The plan will categorise the source of funds, adjust the interest rate and loan policies; encourage cooperative members to find additional income sources by providing loans for new businesses; and formulate debt-restructuring measures such as reducing interest and fines or providing debt-relief programmes.

CPD Director-General Phichead Wiriyaphaha said this year’s drought has been serious and has already destroyed most crops in several regions. 

This renders the price-guarantee policy useless as farmers don’t have anything to sell. As a result, many will not be able to pay the debts they owe to agricultural cooperatives, he said.

Phichead added that agricultural cooperatives have accumulated debts of 175 billion baht (5.8 billion USD), of which 163.5 billion baht is from members of agricultural cooperatives and 590 million baht from fishery cooperatives.

The agricultural cooperatives expect non-performing loans worth up to 41.6 billion baht, he said.

The main reason behind this is the drought and the rise in production cost since the start of this year.

Phichead added that CPD has earmarked 1.6 billion baht for five-year loans at 1 percent interest for cooperatives that want to dig artesian wells and ponds to help farmers earn extra income from farming alternative crops.-VNA