Call for help as orchid export industry wilts badly

News
The ongoing pandemic has hit orchid exports and orchid growers are so badly off now that they need financial assistance from the government, the Thai Orchid Exporter Association’s vice president Jade Meeyarnyium said.

“Though growers have their flowers ready, they can’t be sold. Everything has stopped. There are no orders from other countries and no source of revenue. They will not be able to sustain their businesses if the government does not step up to help,” he said.

The association wants the government to launch remedial measures, and Jade submitted a list of proposals to the prime minister on April 2. They are:

1. Banks should suspend debt repayment for orchid exporters or related businesses. If their debt structure is changed, it should not be used as a reason to refuse the consideration of new loans.

2. Low-interest loans with no special conditions should be granted for orchid exporters and farmers. The limit on the loans can be Bt20 million.

3. Exporters’ contribution to the Social Security Fund should be reduced from 4 per cent to 1 per cent.

4. Corporate income tax collected from orchid exporters and related businesses should be reduced from 20 per cent to 10 per cent for two to five years.

5. Utility bills such as water and electricity should be cut by 50 per cent.

6. Government must provide 50 per cent wages to staff in the orchid business who have contributed to social security.

7. The growth of the orchid business must be supported by the improvement of measures or laws related to the business.

8. The credit bureau should delete all records it has on farmers and exporters, so they can start anew.

Thailand’s orchid export market is worth Bt5 billion yearly and its main buyers are China, United States, Australia, Japan and Italy – all of which have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.