Thai Commerce Ministry to prioritise raw, rubber products

Thailand’s Commerce Ministry has renewed its income guarantee scheme to include rubber and oil palm as top priority agricultural products to be presented to the new government, which advocated income guarantees as part of its election manifesto.

According to the Director-General of Internal Trade, Whichai Phochanakij, the department is preparing data and guidelines for the crops, which will cover the reference price calculation method, the registration process and budget allocation. The proposal to a new policy committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit will also specify criteria governing support to farmers.

Jurin, who leads the Democrat Party, announced recently that the income guarantee scheme will be one of the government’s key measures to raise farmers’ income by targeting five crops – namely, rubber, oil palm, rice, tapioca, and corn. The Party has previously championed crop price insurance and guaranteed income for farmers.

While earlier assistance was limited so as to prevent the scheme from becoming a financial black hole for the government, some areas of land and quantities of crops covered by the programme may be changed by the government depending on economic circumstances. In effect, the new government intends to create a fail safe mechanism to support farmers in the event of a sharp fall in prices.