Thailand’s cabinet has approved three programs aimed at developing rice production output, with a budget totaling over 25 billion baht. Thailand, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, approved a raft of measures to help the country’s beleaguered rice farmers where the Vice Minister for Commerce, Nattaporn Jatusripitak revealed the three programs that will be operational from 2017 to 2021. Other efforts include educating low-income farmers in finance and production and a 2 billion baht rice insurance program.
In the first program, the rice department will distribute high-quality jasmine rice at 10 baht per kilogram to participating farmers who qualify for up to 5 Rai (or 8,000 square meters). The second program encourages joint management and production efforts in order to reduce costs by supporting the use of certain strands, agricultural machinery, land cultivation, and organic fertilizer. The third program encourages organic rice production by subsidizing qualifying farmers with up to 15 Rai (or 24,000 square meters), at 9,000 baht per Rai. The funds will be distributed over the course of three years in order to monitor the quality of the organic crops. Thailand’s economy has remained sluggish since a 2014 coup and is underperforming regional peers. In a bid to lift the economy, the ruling junta has introduced stimulus measures and ramped up investment in infrastructure too.