The Veterinary Department and the Chiang Mai Agriculture Office organized efforts to assist farmers in harvesting rice recently as farmers face low rice prices. The Royal Thai Army joined in the event and a combine harvester was used to harvest rice in Mae Rim.
The offices plan on targeting areas in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son in the coming harvesting season. Farmers have usually hired laborers at 700 baht per rai to harvest but with the combine harvester costs can be reduced to 300 baht per rai. The group will subsidize some of the transportation cost so that the fee will be 25 baht per kilometer as opposed to the former 20 satang per kilogram.
The next target will be in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai with 600 rai followed by Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. The project wants to cover all districts, however, limitations as rice will be harvested simultaneously, it was proved not possible. The Animals and Agriculture Division 3 has only two combine harvesters and will require another one from another division for help.
Mr. Sompol Sankam, Director of Chiang Mai Agriculture Office, said that the market price of rice has started increasing from 5-6 baht to 7.40 baht per kilogram. Most rice will go to the market during the end of November – December. In Chiang Mai, area (in the field and on the mountain) rice is grown on 54,000 rai, sticky rice (San Patong) is 347,560 rai with total rice production of 269,312 rai. Jasmine rice is widely grown in Phrao, Fang, Mae Ai, and San Patong District. Sticky rice has seen less demand but demand remains high for other rice.