Thailand’s Rice Policy and Management Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has approved a rice price guarantee scheme for five types of rice and a parallel measure to help farmers cover their harvesting or production costs.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said Wednesday that the committee’s decision will be forwarded to the cabinet for consideration at its meeting on August 27th.
The five types of rice and their guarantee prices are:
- Paddy, 10,000 baht per tonne
- Hom Mali rice, 15,000 baht per tonne
- Hom Mali rice planted outside specific zones, 14,000 baht per tonne
- Hom Pathum rice, 11,000 baht per tonne and sticky rice, 12,000 baht per tonne
The guaranteed prices are for grains with a maximum of 15% water content and for grains harvested from at most 2.4 hectares of farmland for each household. The budget for the guarantee scheme is estimated at 21 billion baht.
Jurin said that the government will provide a subsidy to cover the harvesting or production costs amounting to 500 baht per .06 hectares but not exceeding 1.2 hectares for each household, adding that the Commerce Ministry will consult the Budget Bureau about the funding that will be needed.
Details of the price guarantee, and the covering of farmers’ production or harvesting costs projects, will be jointly worked out by the Commerce Ministry and the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.
In order to be eligible to receive benefits from the project, rice farmers must register with the Department of Agricultural Extension within 15-60 days after the completion of their cultivation.
Thai Rice Exporters Association president Charoen Laothammatat said that the rice price guarantee is just a short-term measure, adding that he looks forward to longer-term measures, such as development of rice seeds, which are demanded by the market, and cost cuts so Thai rice is competitive in the world’s market.
He noted that Iraq, which used to be Thailand’s major export market which imported between 700,000-800,000 tonnes of Thai rice, has now turned to Vietnam because they doubt the quality of Thai rice.
Thailand, he said, must restore the confidence of its rice buyers and Thai officials must visit their customers in Japan and China to assure them of the quality of Thai rice.