Chatchai Sirilai, the president of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), stated that the bank will augment its role as a facilitator for the export of high-value agricultural goods. This move is aimed at increasing income for farmers.
The BAAC’s strategy is focused on nurturing a new generation of farmers who concentrate on producing quality products, rather than mass quantities. Chatchai believes that the development of agricultural goods should be market-led, as prices of commodities produced in large volumes are likely to drop without a target market.
Chatchai also stressed the importance of technology adoption in the production and distribution of BAAC’s agricultural goods exports. In particular, integrating automation into agriculture through digital platforms could result in a multitude of benefits, such as improved agricultural efficiency, cost reduction, enhanced crop yields, and increased production capacity.
These advantages are possible due to the strong connections the agricultural sector has established with academia.
The BAAC’s support for farmers will incorporate both financial aid and marketing assistance. In terms of marketing, the bank plans to serve as an intermediary for cross-border trade by facilitating business matches between agricultural exporters and overseas buyers. This should lead to better bargaining power for farmers and subsequently, an increase in their income.
As an example, Chatchai referred to marigold farmers who typically offer a farm price of around 2 to 3 baht per unit, compared to the retail price of 10 baht per unit. The BAAC plans to intervene to stabilise farm prices and reduce market price distortion.
BAAC’s comprehensive approach
The bank’s goal is to become a sustainable rural development bank, supporting farmers in all aspects, from production and value addition to marketing support. The BAAC aims to lift farmers’ income to parallel that of urban professions, reported Bangkok Post.
In addition, the BAAC is committed to skill-building for farmers to enhance their quality of life and instil pride in their profession. The bank has also set up an Office of Foreign Affairs to boost the productivity and global connectivity of Thai farmers, including selling produce abroad in collaboration with the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) through business-matching activities.
Simultaneously, the BAAC provides ADBC customers with direct access to a source of raw materials and production at fair prices from upstream producers. The BAAC is also a member of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, a regional group that fosters productivity and improves access to financial services through knowledge-sharing and learning, capacity building, research, and expertise exchange.
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