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01. August 2019

THAILAND: Commerce Ministry puts priority on rubber

The Commerce Ministry has made rubber and oil palm the top priority farm products for the new government to tackle under the income guarantee scheme. Whichai Phochanakij, director-general of Internal Trade Department, said it is preparing data and guidelines for the income guarantee scheme for five crops, starting with rubber and oil palm, to submit to the new government. The other three crops under the scheme are rice, tapioca and corn.

The department plans to present the proposal soon to a new policy committee to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, leader of the Democrat Party, which advocated income guarantees as part of its election manifesto. The guidelines will cover the reference price calculation method, the registration process and budget allocation. The department will also propose criteria governing which farmers are entitled to receive the support.

Mr Whichai said earlier the assistance should be limited to those farmers who actually need help to prevent the scheme from becoming a financial black hole for the government. However, specifics regarding the areas of land and quantities of crops covered by the programme may be changed by the government depending on economic circumstances, he said. The government would create a mechanism whereby it could step in to support farmers if prices suffered a sharp fall, said Mr Whichai.

Mr Jurin announced recently during the delivery of the new government's policy manifesto that the income guarantee scheme will be one of the government's key measures to raise farmers' income, targeting five key crops: rubber, rice, tapioca, oil palm and corn. The Democrat Party formerly championed crop price insurance and guaranteed income for farmers when it led the coalition government in 2011-13.

Source: Daily “The Bangkok Post”, Bangkok; 30 July 2019
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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