Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisada Boonrach has set up district-and tambon-level teams nationwide to encourage rice farmers to grow corn for animal feed after their rice harvest to meet a target of 2 million rai of corn plantation.
"We need to explain to farmers that they will earn a better profit per rai from growing corn for animal feed compared to rice-growing because corn is in high demand.
"The government will implement incentives, including financial aid at Bt2,000 per rai, a three-year debt suspension period for farmers with loans and support in terms of production and machines via the co-operative system and help to find a market for corn," the minister said on Wednesday. More measures include a produce insurance system and buying price guarantee, he added.
File photo: Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisada Boonrach
The district and sub-district agriculture officials were also to educate the interested rice farmers - who registered with the Department of Agriculture Extension for the project - about how to grow corn and related issues.
The teams would emphasise a recent survey of corn for animal feed price at Ubon Ratchathani's Pibul Mangsahan district which is hailed as the successful model with 27,000 rai of corn plantations yielding 1,100kg of corn per rai or a total of over 27,000 tonnes.
The corn is sold at Bt7.5-Bt9.6 per kg, depending on the level of moisture, compared to its production cost of Bt2.9 per kg, he said.
Off-season rice-growing would yield around Bt1,980 in gross profit per rai, while corn for animal feed would yield Bt5,000 in profit per rai, he said.