The Agriculture Ministry is asking the government to hand farmers monthly payments of Bt5,000 for six months to maintain the agricultural supply amid forecasts of global food shortages within three months.
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, adviser to the agriculture minister, said that the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Trade Organisation all predict that food shortages will become another global crisis in the next three months, especially for countries that are unable to produce their own food. The ministry wants a backup plan in place before the world recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, which might take about two years. “Thailand is the 12th largest food exporter in the world and the second in Asia,” Alongkorn said. “This is a time when we have to maintain our production bases for agricultural products, crops, livestock and fish.”
With both domestic and international purchasing power decreasing, farmers have a crucial role under current circumstance, and the ministry needs to subsidise them with Bt5,000 payments for six months, he added. The ministries of Agriculture and Commerce must work together to balance volumes of food for domestic consumption and for export, said Alongkorn, so that the country can maintain its food supply and also revenue from international markets.