In his national address on 7 July 2017, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that Thai agricultural exports during the five-month period were valued at 550 billion baht, accounting for an increase of 8.8 percent. Imports were valued at 160 billion baht, declining by 16 percent. As a result, Thailand gained a trade surplus of almost 400 billion baht.
The Prime Minister quoted results of the "Super Poll” stating that changes had been seen in the use of farmland among farmers.
The poll shows that the cultivation of rice as a single crop dropped from 75.3% to 57.8% now, while the planting of rice along with other crops increased from 15.5% to 30%.
He pointed out that the adjustment of farmers would contribute to the country’s agriculture sector.
Production costs would drop and farmers would produce in response to the market demand. The Government wanted farmers to become self-reliant and form their groups to carry out large-scale farming, or community enterprises.
The Prime Minister said that rubber was found to have been grown on 1.2 million acres of encroached land. This was one of the causes of falling prices, since rubber production in the country was excessive. In the past, rubber production was intended mainly for export.
The present administration does not want rubber planters to depend heavily on exports, as in the past. It has instructed all ministries to consider using more rubber in their projects, such as in building roads and stadiums.
He urged farmers to plant crops in suitable areas and not to encroach into public land for cultivation. They should also shift from monoculture toward greater varieties of crops. Relevant agencies have been assigned to provide knowledge for farmers in order to ease their problems that have accumulated for a long time.
The Prime Minister said that the Thai economy in May 2017 continued to grow, at 13.2% over the same period of last year. A report from the Board of Investment also indicates that 35.7% of foreign companies operating in Thailand plan to expand their investment here, while 62.5% will proceed with their plans to invest in Thailand, without any changes.
In the overall picture, he said, the economic sector is linked together at all levels. The Government has been implementing various measures, aimed at benefiting the people both directly and indirectly.