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AG agencies told to shape up

Six agricultural agencies have been told to submit their operating plans within six weeks to the committee tasked with monitoring state-enterprise policy.

That could lead to the consolidation of some for greater efficiency.

They are the Marketing Organisation for Farmers (MOF), the Rubber Estate Organisation, the Office of the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund, the Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation of Thailand, the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) and the 1 Million Cow scheme's office.

After yesterday's meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu, a senior bureaucrat said some of the agencies had failed in their duty to monitor agricultural prices and improve farmers' quality of living.

State Enterprise Policy Office director-general Areepong Bhoocha-oom said several lacked direction and produced losses.

"The MOF and the PWO, for example, share a similar responsibility.

"But while the latter oversees rice and corn, the former takes care of other crops. Still, both are losing, and there is an idea to merge them to improve efficiency. Other ideas emerge as the government changes from a pledging system to a price guarantees, because this change will reduce their role in warehouse management. A plan will be available once we know how these organisations are changing their roles," Areepong said.

Acting PWO president Yongyos Palanitisena said the proposed merger was not completely new and that the merger with the MOF might lead to an organisation that was too big. Both agencies should instead join hands to do their jobs.The two rubber agencies could also be merged, with the intention of adding value to para rubber. The government will also rush to liquidate the 1 Million Cow scheme's office.

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