The Finance Ministry has announced a plan to use a 76 billion baht package to support Thai rice farmers. The ministry is working with the Budget Bureau to create a scheme that ensures a guaranteed income for the farmers, which would offer some cushion against the unpredictable issues that plague farming such as floods, droughts and pestilence.
There is already a scheme in place to offer financial aid to farmers, reports Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. For rice farmers alone, the project has a budget of 89 billion baht. This plan initially called for 13 billion baht to be gradually distributed to the farmers. But the project now is asking for another 76 billion baht.
There is currently a framework in place that limits the government’s ability to borrow from state institutions, for financing state projects. That limit now is set at 30% of the annual budget of expenditures. The state has nearly hit that borrowing limit, according to the Bangkok Post, so it is unclear if the framework will have to be revised.
But there is still time to find the funding for the project, explains Arkhom. The new installment of cash is not needed for a few more months, and the dispersal of funds to the farmers will be gradual over time. The deputy Finance Minister said that the cabinet has asked for the initial payments to the rice farmers to begin in the next few days, using the current budget of 13 billion baht.
The cabinet also asked the Finance Ministry and the Budget Bureau to look into other ways of finding money for this project, and to research ways in which rice farmers could cut their production costs.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post