Kasetsart surveys show farmers’ subsidy boosts Thai GDP

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BANGKOK, Dec 2 —  The government’s subsidy for rice farmers has raised Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) by about Bt30 billion and when the payments are complete, they should increase the GDP by Bt90 billion, academics said.

Asst Prof Kampanat Pensupar, director of the Kasetsart University Centre for Applied Economics Research, and Bhumisak Sasri, director of the Agricultural Economics Operation Centre, told the press that the government had paid Bt15.30 billion in subsidies which helped increase GDP by nearly Bt35 billion.

Of that amount, Bt2.6 billion is in the agricultural sector and Bt32.4 billion is in other sectors.

If the entire Bt40 billion subsidy is paid, GDP should rise by Bt91.4 billion, some 2.3 times the amount of the subsidy.

That can reduce the household debt of rice growers by Bt500 a year, cutting the total debt burden by about Bt1.7 billion.

About 3.5 million rice farming families benefit from the subsidy.

Kasetsart staff surveyed 40 rice farmer families in Lop Buri and found that most were happy with the subsidy and had already spent it.

Sixty-eight per cent of the farmers spent the money on fertilizer, chemicals and cultivation supplies and others spent on debt repayment and consumer products, all of which meet the objectives of the subsidy project.

The academics raised concern that the subsidy caused the price of fertilizer and pesticide to rise 3 per cent.