Rubber farmers are concerned following rumors surfacing that two major car tyre manufacturers are refusing to buy rubber from the northeast of Thailand claiming rubber farmers in the Northeast use sulfuric acid in their production process which make the rubber quality substandard.
Following such rumour, the Agriculture and Cooperative Minister has ordered the Rubber Authority of Thailand to look into the matter and educate rubber planters in the region to stop adding sulfuric acid to rubber as it severely degrades its quality.
The minister, Gen Chatchai Sarikalaya, yesterday elaborated on rumors that two major tyre manufacturers are refusing to buy rubber from the northeast of Thailand and will put on hold their plans to construct automobile production facilities valued at more than 2 billion Baht in the northeastern part of the country as well.
He said that the manufacturers were dissatisfied when they discovered that more than 80% of rubber producers in the northeast of Thailand added sulfuric acid to latex to speed up coagulation.
This in turn results in shorter life expectancy of automotive tyres.
He admitted that the ministry was taking the matter seriously and has ordered the Rubber Authority of Thailand to send its officials to inform rubber planters in the area of the futility of the practice.
Meanwhile the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAT) director-general Thiratch Sooksa-art said he had talked to the two manufacturers and both assured they have not refused to buy rubber as was rumored.
He was adamant that the RAT has always consistently campaigned for rubber planters to stop using sulfuric acid as a coagulating agent for sometime now.