The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) is offering 1.67 billion baht in soft loans to 10,000 farmers and agricultural institutes to build rice barns and delay paddy sales to stabilise rice prices.
The bank will provide soft loans worth up to 150,000 baht per farmer and up to 3 million baht per farm institute, including agricultural cooperatives and community enterprises, said Sarayut Yimyoun, the bank's executive vice-president.
The 10-year loan charges 4% interest for the first five years, of which 1% will be paid by borrowers and 3% by the government for the first five years.
The rate for the remaining five years will be determined by the bank.
Barn construction must be completed by Sept 30 to store rice from November. The loans' drawdown runs through the end of this year.
Mr Sarayut said the loans are in com­- pliance with the national rice policy committee's policy to let 10,000 farmers and farm institutes build, repair and renovate their own barns for rice storage.
Rice farmers and agricultural institutions can then sell paddy when prices are high, he said.
Farmers will benefit from the policy to delay paddy sales, Mr Sarayut said, adding that farmers who store their paddy in barns for a designated period will also receive cash handouts as part of the 83.7-billion-baht loan and grant scheme for rice farmers who delay selling paddy.
Under the lending scheme, 21 billion baht has been offered to those who delay selling paddy, with an additional 3 billion earmarked for cash handouts to farmers who store their paddy in barns.
Agricultural institutions that buy paddy from members to increase product value will received 12.5 billion baht in loans, and 47.3 billion in grants is available to 3.9 million rice growers who signed up with the Agricultural Extension Department.