THE AGRICULTURE, Interior and other ministries will kick off a multi-billion-baht Thai Niyom rural development programme later this month, Agriculture Minister Krisada Boonraj said.
Starting on February 21, a total of 7,663 teams, representing each of the country’s tambons assigned by the Interior Ministry, will visit villagers across the country to gather personal and household data on their needs, under the programme.
The Thai Niyom programme is aimed at tackling rural poverty in a more sustainable manner through reform of the country’s agricultural sector, Krisada said.
The programme also aims to highlight villagers’ active participation in the government-led efforts, which cover more than 20 projects for |occupational training and other measures to generate more income for villagers.
Initially, the projects will be financed by a combined Bt35-million budget from the Agriculture Ministry’s mid-year budget, with the rest coming from other sources.
Krisada said villagers are expected to get economic benefits from the projects to help tackle rural poverty at the source.
Advisers will be assigned to households where members have registered with the government as low-income earners, so that they can provide recommendations and help select suitable training and other measures to help them address their economic needs.
According to Krisada, government advisers from the Interior Ministry’s 7,663 teams would first conduct in-depth interviews with each of the households to analyse their financial problems to determine the best course of action.
The reform programme involves several major projects. First, Bt3.2 billion will be spent to help farmers to switch to economical crops to reduce the risk from low prices and oversupply. Some farmers have been stuck with crops whose market prices are not enough to cover their production costs resulting in the need for the government to intervene.
Second, Bt3.4 billion will be used to develop new crop varieties and seeds as well as livestock for farmers to diversify their sources of income.
Third, Bt6 billion will be used to increase the value of agricultural products to solve the oversupply problem and avoid low prices.
Fourth, Bt15 billion will be used to reduce economic inequality and promote a better quality of life. Details of these measures have not been announced.
Fifth, Bt19 billion will be used to upgrade the rural irrigation facilities, while another Bt769 million is earmarked for the so-called Big Data management project.
Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said a Bt2-billion budget has been set aside for officials to meet villagers in more than 70,000 villages nationwide, with most of the money earmarked for food and related expenses during a total of four visits later this year.
These visits will include in-depth interviews, a recommendation of solutions, occupational training and other measures to tackle rural poverty.
- Overall budget: Bt47 billion
- Population coverage: More than 70,000 villages nationwide
- Objective: Tackling rural poverty at root cause