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Thailand’s Half-Half fertiliser project aims to grow rice prices

Thailand’s Half-Half fertiliser project aims to grow rice pricesLegacy

The Thai government has launched the Half-Half Fertiliser project, aiming to improve rice prices for farmers while continuing the 1,000 baht per rai support scheme. The initiative is intended to help farmers in times of crisis and enhance rice quality.

Thammanat Prompao, the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, addressed criticisms of the Half-Half Fertiliser project at the Government House today. The initiative, which has faced opposition from some farmers, was approved by the Rice Policy Committee.

This committee includes representatives from the National Farmers’ Association, agricultural stakeholders, the Ministry of Finance, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), and the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior. The project has been forwarded to the Cabinet for final approval.

Thammanat stated that the project responds to farmers’ demands and is part of a vision to implement precise fertiliser usage, ensuring the right formula is applied at the right time and place. This approach aims to increase productivity and improve rice quality. Following the committee’s approval, the Rice Department, as the implementing agency, has already presented the project to the Cabinet. The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Rice Department, will now collaborate with the Ministry of Commerce to move forward with the project.

Thammanat emphasised that farmers must voluntarily register for the project through the BAAC and the Department of Agricultural Extension. This registration ensures that participation is not enforced, and farmers can choose whether they wish to join the initiative.

“Communication must convey clearly that farmers need to register themselves to participate in this project. If they do not wish to join, they are not obligated to.”

Concerns have been raised about whether the project might favour certain fertiliser companies or formulas. Thammanat assured that the initiative is open to all fertiliser companies and brands, without any restrictions on specific formulas.

“This is about improving the quality of agricultural produce, particularly rice.”

Farmers support scheme

Addressing questions about the 1,000 baht per rai support scheme, Thammanat confirmed that this programme would continue to support farmers facing issues such as poor-quality rice due to drought or flooding. This scheme is crucial when rice prices fall below a sustainable level, typically between 7,000 and 8,000 baht per tonne.

The government steps in to support farmers with the harvesting costs, providing 1,000 baht per rai. Thammanat reiterated the government’s commitment to enhancing rice quality and increasing yield per rai, aiming for rice prices to be between 11,000 and 15,000 baht per tonne, depending on the rice variety.

“The criticism linking these two projects together is a misunderstanding. They serve different purposes and should not be conflated.”

When asked about the prime minister’s request for a review of the project, Thammanat explained that the ongoing process must ensure no opportunities for corruption among officials or related agencies. The objective is to provide farmers with quality fertilisers to improve rice productivity and quality.

Fertiliser manufacturers must register with the Department of Agriculture, which will test and verify the quality of the fertiliser samples provided. Srettha has instructed that this process be thorough to avoid the distribution of substandard fertilisers, reported KhaoSod.

The story Thailand’s Half-Half fertiliser project aims to grow rice prices as seen on Thaiger News.

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