In a strategic move to bolster the stability of rice prices for the upcoming 2023/24 harvest season, the Thai cabinet has greenlit a comprehensive financial package totaling 55 billion baht. This substantial initiative aims to address the challenges faced by farmers, particularly in light of current market conditions impacting the pricing of the Thai hom mali fragrant rice variety.
The approved measures encompass a multifaceted approach, with a primary focus on providing financial support to farmers and agricultural cooperatives. Farmers now have the opportunity to avail themselves of loans, allowing them to defer the sale of freshly harvested paddy rice with a moisture content of 25% for an extended period of five months. During this time frame, the government is committed to offering 12,000 baht per tonne for the rice, along with an additional 1,500 baht per tonne to cover storage costs. The objective is to absorb an estimated 3 million tonnes of rice, thereby stabilizing market supply and supporting prices.
Simultaneously, cooperatives are being encouraged to actively participate in purchasing paddy rice, particularly the sought-after Thai hom mali fragrant variety. These acquisitions will be made at guaranteed prices, and the rice will be held in storage until market conditions improve. The goal is ambitious, targeting the procurement of up to 1 million tonnes of rice by cooperatives.
This financial intervention follows a precedent where farmers received support to enhance the quality of their rice, a measure currently awaiting approval by the National Rice Policy Committee. Moreover, contemplations are underway regarding adjustments to the intervention policy for the next harvest season. The envisioned changes are geared towards elevating farmers’ earnings by reducing reliance on subsidies and emphasizing production efficiency and technological integration.
These measures unfold against the backdrop of market prices for hom mali paddy rice, which currently languish below what is considered fair. This disparity is attributed to high moisture levels at harvest time, significantly impacting the selling price. As the government takes proactive steps to address these challenges, the measures are poised to have a considerable impact on the agricultural landscape, fostering stability and resilience within the vital rice sector.