BANGKOK, 24 March 2014 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Yukol Limlaemthong has expressed belief that the 2014 rice yields will total 26 million tons and hopes that the rice market will return to its normal state.
Based on the estimation of the Office of Agricultural Economics, Mr Yukol said the amount of rice to be harvested this year could be about 26 million tons, dividing into 8 million tons from off-season cultivation and 18 million tons from in-season. Of that total, 10-11 million tons will be sold domestically.
Since the government might not carry on the rice mortgage scheme, the deputy premier indicated that the sales of rice in the market should be able to return to the way they were before the scheme was implemented. He said all provincial governors had been instructed to establish a new panel, of which members would come from rice-related agencies, in order to supervise the management, production and distribution of rice in their areas.
An understanding of the market mechanism and rice price trend will be instilled among farmers while useful advice will be given by exemplary farmers whose productivity exceeds 700 kilograms per rai.
As for the agricultural zoning program, Mr Yukol reported that out of the current 70 million rai of paddy fields nationwide, 43 million rai was found to be suitable for growing rice, whereas the other 27 million was not. The latter group is being gradually turned into land for cultivating other cash crops, such as sugarcane.