Farmers turn to self-help before assistance reach

As assistance from both the public and private sectors is pouring into farmers suffering hardship from low paddy prices, farmers in several provinces now have to help themselves with all possible means to keep their crops in good shape after responding to government’s call to delay selling their crops pending better prices.

Assistance now poured in to help poor farmers include soft loans to delay selling rice crops by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, direct purchase of rice from farmers’ cooperatives, direct selling of rice by farmers on the internet, arrangement of spaces at all PTT gas stations in the country for farmers to bring their rice for sale to customers, opening of selling points at Government, state enterprise and company offices, to sell rice with no charge.

Soldiers and police were advised to help farmers harvesting to reduce labour cost.

But before these assistance will arrive, one way farmers are using is to help each other to lower labour cost in harvesting.

In the northern province of Chiang Rai, farmers in local communities worked together in unity to harvest rice yields in Thoen and Khun Taan districts.

Normally labour cost for harvesting in paddy field is 1,000 baht per rai.

After harvesting, farmers need to dry rice grains to get rid of moisture and store their produce in barns under the government’s campaign to support them to delay selling rice.

In Nong Khai, provincial police helped farmers harvest rice to save cost from hiring labourers.

Meanwhile in Surin province, the abbot of a temple also allowed farmers to use open ground inside the temple compound to dry their rice grains.

Normally farmers would dry rice grains on the side of the roads and their produce could be damaged by running cars.

Farmers are grateful to the temple.

The temple abbot said farmers were in trouble and they need help. Turning the space used for religious activities into the place for drying rice also boosts unity in the community.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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