Thailand prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said yesterday the measures should be taken for the rice farmers to help them to come out of the lower rice prices and to facilitate them in developing farmland and advanced planning through the cooperation of relevant agencies.

Prayuth said that the talks over the farm zoning are going on and the further decision would be taken up by interior ministry.

He emphasized that the policies need to be adopted to convert the land on the rice basin into farm land instead of factories but didn’t disclose anything about the businesses already running there.

The Junta Chief said that focus would be stressed on how to increase the productivity along with less utilization of water and farmland.

Interior Ministry’s Damrongtham Centre is working with the agriculture department to find out which area is suitable for which crop and it also assists financially poor people of the country. It will also provide its assistance to the farmers who will join the farm-zoning scheme.

Current assistance by the Damrongtham Centre to farmer is Bt1, 000 per rai that may be increased at later stages.

To provide different kinds of government assistance or subsidies, government divided the farmer in four groups:

  • Very poor or landless
  • Owning more than 40 rai of farmland
  • With more wealth or those who use tractors or other machinery
  • Operating farms and also leasing other farmland.

Both Damrongtham Centre and agriculture department will discuss on the classification and other details important to working out the zoning policy.

The same scheme will also be applied to the rubber, one of the major crop of Thailand who is also suffering from low prices, he said but did not unveil more details on it.

He planned to promote environmental tourism, which would include foreign tourists briefly staying at rice farms.