Thailand: Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister vows to assist farmers affected by drought

  • Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on has pledged his ministry will tailor an assistance package for drought-affected farmers during a looming water shortage in many parts of the country in 2019.
  • Mr Chalermchai ordered officials to conduct a damage assessment to determine how many farmers would be eligible for any drought assistance.
  • The minister said he was concerned about the looming drought after being briefed on the situation by a Permanent Secretary Mr Anan.
  • The ministry’s Royal Irrigation Department (RID) is speeding up efforts to mitigate the impacts of the drought in many parts of the country after several majors reservoirs saw water levels fall below those recorded in 2018.
  • The RID found that rainfall has been 18% below average, going against the department’s prediction of it only being 5-10% below average.
  • Less rain has been falling countrywide, especially in the Northeast, which has had almost no rain at all recently, while water levels in the Mekong River there are low due to China’s Jinhong dam.
  • Meanwhile, the Thai Meteorological Department forecast that one storm would hit the country in Aug 19, but major dams in the Central Plains region will not benefit much because the rainfall would likely be in areas downstream of the dams.

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