BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s cabinet approved the National Rice Policy Committee’s proposal on Tuesday to raise the budget for the rice farmers’ income guarantee scheme from 28.711 billion baht (948 million U.S. dollars) to 46.807 billion baht (1.54 billion U.S. dollars).
The increased budget was designed to help Thai rice farmers at a time when the price of rice had plummeted sharply, said government deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek.
The price of jasmine rice had dropped due to export slowdown and limited tourism from the COVID-19 fallout, she said.
“Hence, the cabinet has green-lighted the go-ahead for the budget increase to facilitate the rice-guarantee scheme for farmers in their rice harvest,” Ratchada said.
Under the scheme, the price per ton of rice will be guaranteed at 15,000 baht (495.54 U.S. dollars) for jasmine, 14,000 baht (462.50 U.S. dollars) for off-season jasmine, 10,000 baht (330.36 U.S. dollars) for ordinary rice, 11,000 baht (363.40 U.S. dollars) for Pathum Thani rice and 12,000 baht (396.43 U.S. dollars) for sticky rice.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives said it expects more rice to be produced this year thanks to a sufficient supply of water, adding that 2018 and 2019 had been harsh years for rice farmers due to severe drought.