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No more free cows

The Cabinet on Tuesday will be asked to cancel the populist "One Million Cows" project initiated by the previous administration, as it had milked the government for over Bt100 million.

Published on November 15, 2007

Deputy Prime Minister Paiboon Wattanasiritham said the Agriculture Ministry's proposal was accepted by the meeting of the Cabinet agenda screening committee that he chaired yesterday.

The Livestock Development Department and Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives would be assigned to help the 8,962 farmers raise the 17,835 cows that they received under the project until they can sell them and complete their contracts, he said.

Prices of live cows have dropped and the Bt420 million special purpose vehicle set up by the government to run the project under the Marketing Organisation for Farmers had suffered a loss of Bt120 million. Liquidation of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) would leave about Bt300 million to return to the Finance Ministry, he said.

To assist the farmers to make the most out of the supplementary income project, the screening committee agreed that the SPV and farmers should split the profit from selling the cows at a 10:90 ratio. If any farmer sold the scheme's cows without authorisation, the SPV could take legal action against that person, he added.

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