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Rice cultivation zones to be reduced next week

Apr 21. 2016
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THE government will next week reduce rice-growing zones from 61.74 million rai of paddy to only 55.8 million rai (8.93 million hectares) to balance supply and demand for the staple in the next harvest season.

Chutima Boonyaprapha-sara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, said yesterday that the government’s rice production planning committee found the country should limit the planting of rice while promoting other crops to ensure a stable rice price and income for farmers.

Other areas will be zoned for other commercial crops, as they are not suited to growing rice, which requires lots of water.

The Agriculture Ministry will help the rice farmers who have to switch to other crops to adjust, while the Commerce Ministry will help farmers find other work so that they can supplement their income.

This plan will go into effect next month.

The zoning is based on data from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, while the government has drawn up an “agri-map” to allocate each area to the most appropriate cash crop. To regulate the growing area of rice and other commercial crops, the government has formed 28 task forces to inspect rice-growing areas in every region.

Under the plan to help cut the cost of cultivation, the government has continued to encourage rice farmers to gather together so that they will have more bargaining power to purchase agricultural products, while the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives will release Bt5 million in soft loans for each collective.

To help ensure that the rice price will not plunge during the harvest season, the ministry has asked millers to purchase paddy rice at a fair price directly from farmers.

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