BANGKOK (NNT) – Thailand’s Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has started offering loans this month for community enterprises and agricultural cooperatives to plant cannabis, after parts of the plant were taken off the narcotics list.
BAAC senior executive vice-president Somkiat Kimawaha said the move supports farmers who want to plant cannabis as an alternative to rice, cassava or rubber trees. The bank’s loan for cannabis farming charges an interest rate of 0.01% per year for the first three years. Cannabis cultivation is expected to add 25-35% in revenue to farmers’ existing tally from traditional crops.
He said, however, that successful cultivation of cannabis for medical or industrial use requires large investment, extensive care and vast knowledge. To plant cannabis also need to be highly motivated because it demands close and attentive care.
Mr. Somkiat said the BAAC has granted cannabis loans totaling 5.1 million baht to 3 community enterprises, one each in Prachin Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen. The BAAC estimates 157 community enterprises, out of a total of 10,000 nationwide, have the potential to engage in cannabis farming.