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12. October 2018

THAILAND: Ministry to compensate rubber growers

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is planning to offer THB 3,000 compensation per rai to rubber growers who agree not to tap rubber latex in their plantations for three months.

“This is a planned measure to tackle falling rubber prices,” Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Grisada Boonrach said. He said he had already instructed the Rubber Authority of Thailand to consult the Council of State about the possibility of seeking a THB 9 billion loan, with the government acting as a guarantor for the plan’s implementation. “We hope to implement the plan between November and next April,” he said. “We should then be able to cut rubber supply by 200,000 tons.” Grisada said authorities would take away tools for rubber tapping to ensure participants in the scheme did not secretly tap the trees.

While plantation owners are promised compensation, their farm hands look set to bear the brunt. Normally, rubber tappers get paid to do their jobs on the basis of benefit sharing. But compensation is unlikely to be shared if the plan is implemented. According to Grisada, there are about 24 million rai (3.8 million hectares) of rubber plantations in the country. Together, they have produced about 4 million tons in rubber yields yearly. “If the rubber output comes down to just below 4 million tons, prices will increase,” he said. Regarding 100,000 tons of rubber stored in Rubber Authority of Thailand’s warehouses, he said the authority and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand were now conducting experiments on how to turn rubber into energy.

Source: Daily “The Nation”, Bangkok; 5 Oct 2018
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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