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Agriculture Min convenes urgent meeting to discuss drought crisis in 22 provinces

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister and the board of directors convened an urgent meeting today to discuss solutions to the ongoing drought in 22 provinces along the Chao Phraya River.

According to the Minister, Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, related agencies hope to formulate plans to enable farmers who have yet to begin their cultivation and those who have started to grow rice to survive until the crisis ends. Areas within the irrigation zones are estimated at 7.34 million rai. Those where farming has begun are estimated at 3.44 million.

Officials have been instructed to survey the number of both groups of farmers. At the same time, the ministry has planned to request the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives to consider suspending debt collection for affected farmers, said Permanent Secretary Chavalit Chookajorn.

Officials have also been instructed to inform the farmers who have already begun growing rice, despite being urged not to do so, that the government would more than likely not provide them with any compensation, given that the Ministry of Interior has yet to declare the 22 provinces disaster zones.

NNT

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