Thailand to spend 1 billion baht for agriculture

Farming in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

THE Thailand government is looking to spend 1 billion baht for fiscal year 2020 in a bid to assist farmers and step-up the agriculture industry.

Thailand’s Industry Ministry said that it is planning to conclude within October this year the government’s agriculture development plan, with Industry Permanent Secretary Pasu Loharjun saying that the ministry is in discussions with the Industrial Promotion Department and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives for the promotion of the measures by early next year.

The total spending will be part of the ministry’s annual budget worth 14 billion baht for fiscal year 2020. The spending is set to commence next month.

“The ministry is designing two to three models to support local farmers, improving their quality of life and increasing their household income,” Pasu said.

“The food sector will be the main focus for the new scheme, which will develop models that use crops to manufacture processed food and help farmers garner higher margins from their planting,” he added.

As part of its efforts to achieve the plan, the government ordered the ministry to lead agriculture-support projects in line with the former’s goal of building a nation of “smart farmers” under the Pracha Rat scheme.

Office of Industrial Economics director-general Nattapol Rangsitpol said that the processed food sector should be the top priority for the government to provide help for farmers.

The country’s agriculture sector has been a major contributor of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

Furthermore, Nattapol cited plans to develop the processed food sector under the ministry’s cluster scheme and seeks further collaboration with giant food companies such as the Charoen Pokphand Group.

“The ministry will invite companies to join the government’s Big Brother scheme to share know-how and experience in doing business with local farm enterprises,” Nattapol said.

“The ministry plans to add new incentives to support future investment in the agriculture development project,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pasu said that the ministry is working on support measures for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and startups such as establishing over 6,000 new SMEs and start-ups.

“In 2020, the ministry plans to create 6,400 new SMEs and startups, which are expected to contribute 1.05 billion baht to the country’s economic value,” Pasu said.

Earlier, the ministry has signed agreements with two state financial institutions, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank, to assist SMEs and start-up companies through providing soft loans for expansion.