Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on has ordered subordinates to come up with measures to protect consumers from the prices of farm products that are likely to rise due to drought.
The minister said the ongoing drought was his greatest concern because it affected many farm products.
According to him, farmers have grown off-season rice in 3.12 million rai of land. Most of the paddies are in the Chao Phraya river basin but the Royal Irrigation Department does not have water for the rice.
Spreading water shortages are also affecting the yields of durian, sugarcane, maize, freshwater fish, cassava, pineapple and orchids. The lack of freshwater and the intrusion of seawater had negative impacts on the farm products which would decline in numbers and sizes, Mr Chalermchai said.
The reduced quality and quantity of the farm products would affect exports and local consumers who might face their rising prices, the minister said.
“The drought may raise the prices of farm products because production costs increase. I do not want consumers to bear the burden, so I have ordered all units to come up with action plans to cushion the impacts this week,” Mr Chalermchai said.
Rapibhat Chandarasrivongs, secretary-general of the Office of Agricultural Economics, said agriculture authorities would meet on Jan 17 to discuss the plans.