Agriculture’s 2016 Q1 recession due to drought according to officials

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BANGKOK – The Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE) forecasts a first quarter contraction of 2.1 percent, citing drought conditions brought on by the El nino effect as a major factor, while expecting full year growth figures to fall between 1.8 to 2.8 percent. 

The OAE Secretary-General Surapong Jiasakul has revealed Thailand’s agricultural sector’s economic status in the first quarter of 2016 to contract by 2.1 percent when compared to the same period last year. This fall was brought on by lower production in cultivation, fisheries, and in agricultural services.

He identified the key cause for this recession as the El nino effect, which has brought on drought conditions in various parts of the country from late 2015 until today. The remaining water in dams and reservoirs is considered to be at an extremely low level and should be allocated for consumption and ecology protection first, warning of water shortages in the agricultural sector.

The OAE secretary-general then added that he expects agricultural economy for the entire year to expand by 1.8 to 2.8 percent, supported from lower fuel price which contributes to lower manufacturing costs, and a weaker Thai currency beneficial to export activities. The government’s agricultural policies and the development of water resources to mitigate the drought will also help the agriculture economy grow during the remainder of 2016.