BAAC credit-card scheme to be expanded to 4m farmers, with extra benefits

Economy July 13, 2013 00:00

By Suphannee Pootpitsut

The Na

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The government plans to increase the number of credit cards issued to farmers to 4 million by September, broadening the range of farmers who can benefit from the scheme and including additional privileges for card users, such as yearly health check-ups, a

Deputy Finance Minister Thanusak Lekuthai yesterday said farmers’ credit cards, which are issued by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), had until now been limited to rice farmers’ purchases of necessities such as fertiliser, insecticide, seeds and oil.

Privileges under the cards are being expanded to annual health check-ups, accident insurance and the purchase of grocery items, while farmers of field crops other than rice, horticultural farmers and fishermen will now also be able to benefit, he said.

Farmers using the credit cards will be exempted from interest for the first five months, while those participating in the rice-pledging scheme will benefit from a low interest rate of 1.5 per cent for their repayments.

The BAAC will also increase to 10,000 the number of shops participating in the project. Some 4,000 stores currently take part.

The new credit card will be officially announced on July 14 tomorrow during a mobile Cabinet meeting in Buri Ram, he added.

In addition, the government will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Social Security Office on cooperation with hospitals to provide health check-ups service to holders of the cards.

The issuance of 4 million cards is considered sufficient to cover all of the BAAC’s customers, Thanusak said. Any new customers will immediately receive the credit card.

The bank also plans to increase the range of privileges even further, so that the credit card can be used for similar purposes to those issued by commercial banks.