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Development plan for farmers going to panel

Feb 18. 2016
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By The Nation

The chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade, Isara Vongkusolkit, said a six-month plan to accelerate the development of farmers would be forwarded to the Pracha Rath Synergy Committee early next month.

The committee’s meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, is scheduled for early March. Members of 12 subcommittees under the Pracha Rath Synergy Committee will also attend the meeting.

Isara, who is also member of a subcommittee for modern agricultural development under the Pracha Rath Synergy Committee, said its plans were aimed at the short, medium and long terms.

The short-term plan, which will be implemented within six months, includes promotion of farming as a profession with higher income with higher standards of agricultural products, as well as joint cooperation between the private and public sectors for big lots of Pracha Rath farming.

Big farming lots will improve the value chain by matching private businesses with farmers in an area, possibly in the form of social enterprise. This programme aims at connecting producers with exporters. Mitr Phol Group, Charoen Pokphand Group, Thai Union Group and others will likely join this programme to develop value chains systematically.

Anther short-term programme is a prototype development of agricultural cooperatives to build up smart managers who have knowledge and capability in business development. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has agreed in principle for this programme with support from private sector players like Mitr Phol, CP Group and Thai Union.

Isara said medium- and long-term plans had been finalised and would be proposed during the meeting for approval. He said all work plans and projects were aimed at developing and enhancing the capabilities of the agricultural sector and its operators from upstream to downstream.

He said the subcommittee for modern agricultural development had set up five working groups for crops, small terrestrial animals, big terrestrial animals, aquatic animals and part-time self-employment.

These five working groups will aim to narrow the gap between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, develop "smart" farmers and agricultural small and medium sized enterprises, and enhance the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

"The public and private sectors [will] work together to develop the whole chain of agricultural sector as a way to improve quality, upgrade product standards and lower costs for farmers. Efficiency will be boosted for the whole system with value added to agricultural products to compete locally and overseas," Isara said.

However, more access to communities is needed with more farm income, he said.

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