BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 – A survey by the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has indicated that Thai farmers on average are in 103,000 baht debt, the highest since it has conducted the survey.
UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF) Director Dr Thanawat Polvichai said that the university conducted a study on over 1,200 farmers in Thailand during August 8-12. The survey revealed that the debt of average farmers has increased by 6.6% from last year. On average, each farmer’s family has 103,000 debt, the highest in four years since the university has begun conducting the survey.
Dr Thanawat speculated that the debt has a tendency to rise, adding that it would increase by 3-5% next year. He indicated that four out of five farmers do not want their children to work on the farm anymore because the income is so low.
The study showed 60% of them have formal debts, which they are most likely able to repay, while one-third of those who have informal debts do not think they will be able to pay them off.
The CEBF Director expressed that farmers’ debts is a chronic problem, particularly the informal debt structure. Many farmers need money to expand their farming fields in order to join the government’s crop mortgaging scheme and to recover their farms from the 2011 flood. He urged the government to tackle the debt problems so that farmers can get out of the vicious debt cycle.