Thailand Government has decided to conduct a large-scale survey of drought-affected farm lands in the Central Region from July 20 to assess the severity of the damage, as quoted by Agriculture Minister. Ministry of Agriculture and cooperatives would carry out the survey in 22 provinces that bare battling drought conditions in the Central region.
According to the sources areas would be classified as hardest-hit areas where rice yields are declining, Areas managed with some government assistance and other areas where no help is needed. Proper assessment of demand for and supply of water is needed to provide adequate support to the farmers to check the problems. It has been estimated that about 560,000 hectares of rice fields have been affected by drought.
Though the government has advised farmers to delay rice planting for the main crop until August, the Royal Information Department has closed more than 300 sluice gates in the Chao Phraya River basin to prevent challenging of water to farm lands and to ensure water for domestic consumption. It also urged farmer not to pump water into their fields over the next few days and has reportedly instructed army to monitor water pumping activity. These measures by the Department has resulted 12 centimeter increase in the water level of the Chao Phraya River.
The commerce minister has expressed confidence that Thailand would be able to export about 10million tons of rice this year due to a likely decline of production in Thailand as well as other major rice exporters. The Foreign Trade Department indicated that overseas demand for Thai rice may increase as not any exporters may plan to cut short the supply.