Govt: Farmers’ debts to be waived

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BANGKOK, 1 April 2015 – In its latest bid to free farmers from indebtedness, the cabinet has approved a plan to waive part of their debts.

The debt restructuring plan will apply to three groups of agriculturists, namely agriculturists who are entirely devoid of potential to repay their loans, agriculturists with low potential to settle their debts and those with ability to repay their debts but have been affected by uncontrollable factors such as a ban on off-season farming or falling market prices.

The first group of farmers numbering 28,000 will be exempted from repaying their debts worth four billion baht in total. The second group of around 400,000, will be allowed to pay only interest for three years, after which they are to pay off their loans within 10 years. The scheme is expected to cost the government around 8.5 billion baht.

The third group of around 450,000, will be provided with debt-suspension, of which the period will be determined in line with their financial condition. Additional loans may be granted to the second and third groups on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the scheme is not a populist policy or intended to spoil the farmers, adding that the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has been assigned to map out measures to prevent farmers from future indebtedness.