Financing Thailand's economic development plan with special reference to the contribution of agriculture Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8p58pj69z

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  • Thailand may be called an underdeveloped country. The population of 26-28,000,000 people is increasing at a rate of three percent per year. Seventy-five percent of the people live in rural areas and agriculture, the most important occupation, contributes from 36 to 40 percent of the gross national product. Productivity and per capita income are low. However, Thailand is a rapidly developing country that has the resources to develop much more. The population density of 51 persons per square kilometer is only one-fifth that of Japan. Only 20 percent of the land area is cultivated, but an additional 15 percent of the total area could be brought under cultivation. Thailand has large unused water resources. Lack of storage causes the country to be very dry, or very wet and flooded, but new programs are providing multi-purpose dams which will store water for flood control and irrigation. The 10 million rai now under irrigation can be more than doubled. Irrigation will greatly increase productivity and make it possible to grow two crops per year. A wide variety of crops are grown. The average level of education of the people is very low, but this is being corrected by new schools for the youth and extension programs for the adult farmers. Much economic development has occurred during the past decades, but the first National Economic Development Plan was started in 1961 and will end in 1966. Under the Plan, many problems of education, health, community welfare and government administration will be reduced. The infrastructure of the economy will be built through public development investments in power, irrigation, communication, transportation, and community development. The government has the policy of promoting industry and manufacturing through the private investment. From 1961 to 1963, gross fixed capital formation in the public sector increased by 700 million baht ($1.00 U.S. = 20.8 baht) while in the private sector the increase was 3,500 million baht. One of the principal objectives of the National Economic Development Plan is the development of agriculture. Fourteen percent of the expenditures under the Plan are for agriculture and cooperatives, but agricultural productivity will be benefited also by expenditures for communications, transportation, power, community facilities, and others. The major share--52 percent--of the funds for development investment will come from the appropriation of government tax revenues. Foreign loans will provide for 22 percent and foreign grants for 11 percent. During the first three years of the Plan, increases in agricultural production have been far in excess of targets in the Plan. Even with the conservative estimates of the Plan, increases in agricultural output should reach five billion baht per year by 1966. Exports of agricultural products should earn two billion baht per year. These estimates do not include any additional national income resulting from processing and handling of agricultural commodities. The growth in agricultural income will continue for many years after the end of the Plan as farmers learn to use new techniques such as irrigation, and as completion of projects permits irrigation of more land. For the six-year period, Development Plan expenditures are expected to average 5.4 billion baht per year. Foreign grants and loans needed during the years of the Plan to balance international payments range from 1. 92 to 3. 57 billion baht. Given these magnitudes of investment, increases in agricultural output, and potential further increases, it can be concluded that increased production from the agricultural sector could provide the capital for financing the economic development of Thailand. Whether this can be achieved depends upon the success of the administrators of Thailand's economic development in recognizing the potential and in coordinating the Development Plans.
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