CHIANG RAI – In an attempt to assist farmers and to shore up rice prices, Thailand’s government-operated Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) today began offering interest-free loans amounting Bt34.79 billion to farmers, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee announced.
In his capacity as BAAC chairman Mr Sommai said that the cabinet had already approved participation by farmers in the North and Northeastern regions in applying for loans.
Opening today, the program ends on September 30 next year.
It is designed to assist farmers in the two regions from slowing down selling paddy during 2014/2015 production.
With cabinet approval, BAAC will start disbursing loans from November 1 until February 28, Mr Sommai said.
Farmers must settle their debt within four months, starting from the month they receive the money.
Mr Sommai said farmers wishing to join the program must mortgage their fragrant Hom Mali paddy or glutinous paddy with the BAAC while the Rice Policy and Management Committee is authorized to approve loans amounting to a maximum of 90 per cent of the market price.
Each farmer can borrow a maximum of Bt300,000.
The BAAC has another loan program for rice farmers wishing to build or renovate rice silos after selling their produce.
This program is to enable farmers to have money to spend in the family after selling rice.
Farmers wishing to apply for loans which would be spent on constructing or renovating a silo could do so at the agricultural bank.
The program began on October 1 this year and ends on the coming September 30.