Thailand’s Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) this month started offering loans to joint ventures and agricultural cooperatives to grow cannabis after parts of the plant were removed from the narcotics list.
BAAC Senior Executive Vice President Somkiat Kimawaha said the move will support farmers who want to grow cannabis as an alternative to rice, cassava or gum trees. The bank’s loan for growing cannabis pays 0.01% interest per annum for the first three years. Cannabis cultivation is expected to add 25-35% of income to farmers’ existing income from traditional crops.
However, he said that successfully growing cannabis for medicinal or industrial purposes requires large investments, thorough diligence, and extensive knowledge. Growing cannabis must also be highly motivated, as it requires precise and attentive care.
Mr Somkiat said BAAC had granted cannabis loans totaling 5.1 million baht to 3 joint ventures, one each in Prachin Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen. BAAC estimates that 157 joint ventures out of 10,000 nationwide have the potential to get involved in cannabis cultivation. (NNT)