Thai sugarcane farmers warned of field burning that causes thick fine dust

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Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit.

Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit said the farmers who burnt their sugarcane fields would not receive assistance from the government.



Mr Suriya said that assistance would go only to the farmers who sold fresh sugarcane and the policy was aimed at reducing fine dust.

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“The Industry Ministry will help only the farmers who cut fresh sugarcane and feed the produce to sugarcane mills,” the minister said. He estimated that drought would limit sugarcane yields at about 70 million tons this year.

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Ekapat Wangsuwan, secretary-general of the Cane and Sugar Board, said fresh sugarcane would form 80% of the yields and burnt sugarcane would drop to 20%.

Farmers with fresh sugarcane would receive more assistance from the government but all sugarcane farmers would obtain government subsidies for their cultivation costs, he said.

Sugarcane field burning has been a main cause of thick fine dust during the cane harvest time from December to March every year. Farmers opt burning to get rid of leaves and it is easier and cheaper for cane collection. (TNA)