Thai farmers harvest rice on a field in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat province (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Thai Government has approved a rice aid package worth 97.95 billion THB (2.94 billion USD) for the 2018-19 crop, aiming to encourage farmers to delay their paddy sales and improve harvesting and price quality.

The package includes a 35.06 billion THB loan to be offered by the State-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), with 62.89 billion THB in one-off payments that the Government will hand out directly to farmers via the BAAC. 

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, there will be three credit schemes with different purposes.

The first is a loan scheme for farmers who agree to delay their paddy sales and the grant for harvesting and price-quality improvement costs will cost an estimated 22.56 billion THB.

Accordingly, the government will grant 1,500 THB per rai (equivalent to 0.16ha) for harvesting and price-quality improvement costs, capped at 18,000 THB per family and not more than 12 rai (or 1.92ha). 

Farmers are also entitled to earn 17,050 THB per tonne for hom mali (jasmine) fragrant rice; 15,450 THB per tonne for glutinous rice; 12,000 THB per tonne for white rice; and 12,900 THB per tonne of Pathum Thani fragrant rice, if they agree to hold their paddy under the barn-pledging scheme. 

The second is a credit worth 12.5 billion THB for farming cooperatives to gather rice or add value to rice, together with a 3-percent interest subsidy programme for rice traders who agree to hold stocks for 60-180 days estimated to cost the government 572 million THB.

These programmes will run from September this year to September 2019, in all provinces, except for the south. Those for the southern region will start from June to October 2019. –VNA