11 July 2024

Thailand’s Finance Ministry will seek cabinet approval for 6 billion baht, to be distributed by the state-run Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), for farmer cooperatives and community enterprises to buy sugarcane harvesting machines.

BAAC manager Mr. Apirom Sookprasert said that sugarcane farmers can’t afford the machines themselves so, in several provinces, many of them resort to burning the cane to enable harvesting, producing smog from PM2.5 dust particles. However the practice reduces the quality of the harvest and, thus, the value.

Mr. Apirom said, if approved, farmer cooperatives and community enterprises will be able to contact the BAAC to apply for loans, with at least one sugar miller acting as the guarantor, to purchase the harvesters.

The bank will charge an interest rate of 4%, half of which will be subsidized by the government for the first three years.

Farmers, who are members of cooperatives or community enterprises, will be able to hire the harvesters from their organizations, which will reduce the smog caused by cane burning.