Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Government aid for debt-ridden farmers

Bangkok Post

The cabinet on Wednesday agreed to a plan to restructure the debts of about 510,000 farmers nationwide as proposed by the Farmers Development and Rehabilitation Fund, Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart said.

Under the plan, state-run Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, Krung Thai Bank, Government Housing Bank, and Government Savings Bank will write off the farmers' debts and interest by 50 per cent and allow them to repay the remaining 50 per cent of the debts over 15 years.

About 510,000 farmers, with debts totalling about 80 billion baht, stand to benefit from the plan, Maj-Gen Sanan said.

He said the farmers are divided into three groups.

The first group comprises about 80,000 farmers with non-performing loans. The problems of this group would be solved in six months.

The second group comprises about 350,000 farmers who are not members of the Farmers Development and Rehabilitation Fund or people who have not been registered as farmers.

About 80,000 farmers of the third group will have their debts restructured after work on the first and second groups has been completed.

Deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the cabinet also approved in principle agreements made at three meetings of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Committee, as recommended by the Foreign Ministry.

The first meeting was held at Siem Reap in Cambodia from Nov 10-12, 2008, the second from Feb 3-4 last year in Bangkok, and the third in Phnom Penh from April 6-7 last year.

Mr Supachai said the agreements still require approval by parliament before they come into effect.

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