THAILAND: Curfew relief requested for rubber farms
The Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) is asking the government to allow farmers to tap rubber during curfew, said Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on. The minister said tapping must be done at night well into the curfew time when the rubber trees yield latex. If farmers are barred from collecting the latex at night, they will have nothing to sell and earn no income, the minister said. He has instructed the RAOT to seek permission from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and coordinate with the Interior Ministry, which supervises local governments to permit rubber farms to continue working during the curfew from 10pm to 4am.
Mr Chalermchai said once permission is given, the Interior Ministry will notify local leaders about the curfew being relaxed for rubber farmers in their respective areas. But the farmers will need to strictly follow procedures to protect themselves against contracting the coronavirus while out working. RAOT deputy governor Nakorn Takkawirapat said farmers are already suffering from dwindling overseas orders. The virus is also blamed for the closure of many privately run, latex-buying stations. Farmers are advised to sell their latex at any of the 222 RAOT-operated buying points nationwide. The locations include the central rubber markets in Buri Ram, Nong Khai, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla and Yala as well as other affiliated markets.
Source: Daily “The Bangkok Post”, Bangkok; 7 Apr 2020
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)