Duty-free soybean imports get state nod

The government on November 24 approved a three-year, tariff-free soybean import plan to ease domestic shortages on the condition that importers promote soybean farming and pay more for domestically grown soybeans. Deputy prime minister Prajin Juntong, who chaired the vegetable oil committee meetings, said importers have to buy domestically grown soybeans at 15.50 baht per kilogramme plus two baht for the purpose of vegetable oil production, 15.75 baht per kg plus two baht for animal feed production and 17.75 baht per kg plus two baht for food production. The higher prices are meant to entice Thai farmers to grow more soybeans, as Thailand produces just 60, 000 tonnes a year, making up only 2% of total demand nearing 3 million tonnes. Thailand imports about 2 million tonnes annually for soybean meal. The committee is expected to forward the proposal to the cabinet for approval, ACM Prajin said.

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