Thai government plans central budget use for farmers’ debt relief
Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.
The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to utilise the central budget to support farmers’ debt relief in case next year’s budget is delayed. The ministry is aligning its plans with the government’s policies, especially Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s strategy of reducing production costs.
In an interview before announcing the policy, Deputy Ministers of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chaiya Phromma stated that the Ministry of Finance will be the main agency implementing the urgent policy of farmers’ debt relief. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will be responsible for planning and preparation.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin who also serves as Finance Minister, has discussed and advised the relevant agencies. The Ministry of Agriculture is preparing a plan to support the farmers during their debt relief period and will continue to provide support for three years to ensure farmers can stand on their own.
When asked about the limited remaining budget and the delay in the new fiscal year, Chaiya stated that the Draft Act of the 2024 Budget Expenditure has not yet been submitted to Parliament. However, the Ministry of Agriculture can make certain changes to some of its duties.
They will evaluate which tasks can be adjusted and will seek to use the central budget to help farmers find additional occupations and debt relief, reported KhaoSod.
Asked whether the existing items in the Draft Act of the 2024 Budget will be adjusted, Chaiya stated that they need to assess whether the existing items align with the current government policies and whether they can be adjusted. Chaiya also affirmed that the government’s policy to reduce production costs must be done as it is crucial to aid debt relief for farmers.
He further explained that the 61 year old prime minister, who has visited the northeastern region, understood the local people’s concerns about using potash ore to produce fertilisers. Currently, there is an environmentally friendly and safe production process, so it is necessary to explain this to the public.
If successful, it will help reduce costs and decrease reliance on imported fertilisers, aiding in debt relief. It is believed that this can be started during this government’s term. In addition, discussions with the Ministry of Commerce will be needed regarding reducing production costs.
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