Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.
Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.
So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.
Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.
The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.
The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.
The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.
Etc, etc, etc.
Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.
“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”
Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.
Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.
There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.
SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia
Mother disappears after abandoning newborn in rubber plantation
A mother is on the run after delivering her own baby boy in a hut on a Loei rubber plantation yesterday, just a day before her husband, who was in custody for two years, was to be released. Loei is in far north-east Thailand near the Laos border.
The baby, with its umbilical cord still attached, was found by local villagers in a rubber plantation hut near Ban None Sawan village in Tambon Khao Luang in Wang Saphung district at 2pm yesterday.
The baby was rushed to the district hospital and forwarded to Loei Hospital.
The chief of the Wang Saphung police station says police learned that the mother is a 38 year old local resident of the village. Her house is about four kilometres from the spot where the baby was found.
Police say the mother disappeared after the delivery apparently because she feared her husband would harm her. Police hope to arrest the mother and charge her with abandoning and endangering a baby, whilst putting her in contact with local welfare services.
Her sister-in-law, ‘Yingyai’ (not her real name), told police that the mother already has four children, with the eldest 12 years old and the youngest 2 years.
Her husband was jailed two years ago and released today. Yingyai said her sister-in-law’s stomach did not grow large and so her pregnancy was not noticed until last month.
SOURCE: The Nation
5,000 Buriram citizens register for medical marijuana possession
by Tanakorn Sangiam
The 90 day registration period for persons in possession of marijuana, without facing prosecution, end this Tuesday, May 21. 5,000+ persons in Buriram, north-east Thailand, have already registered their possession during this period. A community seminar on marijuana planting and management also took place yesterday to prepare Buriram province as a key manufacturer of medical marijuana.
About 250 people comprising of public health officials, agricultural officials, and community enterprises today joined a seminar on marijuana planting and management for medical usage. The seminar was aimed for participants to further distribute the knowledge on systematic medical marijuana planting and manufacturing management to help promote income distribution in local communities, specifically some 3,000 community enterprises in 23 districts in Buriram province.
These community enterprises will then be evaluated for their preparedness, and will be determined by the Food and Drugs Administration whether Buriram province is ready to become a key medical marijuana manufacturer of the country.
Talking about the end of the moratorium for persons in possession of marijuana, Buriram Provincial Public Health Official Withit Saruesadeechaikul said some 5,000 persons had so far registered as possessors – 2,000 villagers in the Buriram province and 20% of registered possessors being cancer patients.
SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand
Two construction workers win big in the National Lottery
PHOTO: Daily News
Two Thai construction workers have won big in this week’s national lottery. Two wins but two very different methods used to select the winning number, 926526.
Wathida Trinet had been visiting Khon Kaen but works in Wang Noi to the north of Bangkok, according to Daily News. There she noticed a gecko clambering over the house number “526” and decided to buy a ticket including that number. She won a whopping 6 million baht thanks to the gecko.
Meanwhile in the north-east 65 year old Charlerm Hettakhu says that a lottery vendor came to his building site to sell the remaining few lottery tickets. He says he could just afford two from a set of three as he only had 200 baht at the time.
He scored a tidy 12 million win. In that case it was just pure luck… “they were the only tickets she had,” he said.
SOURCE: Daily News
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