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40% of Thai farmers live under poverty line

The debt burden of the sector is another key challenge, with 30% of farming households having debt of above the average annual farming income per person

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Some 40% of farming households are living below the poverty line, set at 32,000 baht a year, with the sector’s low income and higher debt a drag on the country’s economic growth, says the Bank of Thailand’s Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research’s (Pier) in a survey.

Farm income averaged 57,032 baht per household in 2017, below the government’s target of 60,000 baht by 2021, said Witsanu Attavanich, economics professor at Kasetsart University. Pier collaborated with the university’s economics department to conduct the survey on the agricultural industry from 2003-13.

“Some 40% of farming households surveyed earned an annual income below the country’s poverty line of 32,000 baht. Each farming household had 2.7 members on average,”

Witsanu Attavanich, economics professor at Kasetsart University

The debt burden of the sector is another key challenge, with 30% of farming households having debt of above the average annual farming income per person, 10% with debt of higher than three times, and 50% having debt below 0.6 times.

Prof Witsanu said the ageing farm population is also a hurdle for the sector, as agricultural labour aged 40-60 increased significantly from 39% of the workforce in 2003 to 49% in 2013, while younger farmers aged 15-40 declined from 48% to 32% over the same period. Survey finds 40% of farmers live under poverty line | Bangkok Post: news

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The Future of Asia: greener but with a public and private debt hangover

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect storm, destroying jobs, worsening poverty and inequality, and creating a public and private debt problem—especially for countries and firms already in fragile financial health beforehand

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50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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Customs Department Considers Measures to Help SMEs

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Customs Department is seeking ways to reduce the impact of the exemption on import tax and value-added tax (VAT) for imported goods worth up to 1,500 baht, as such measures are hurting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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