Government’s direct rubber purchase draws mixed reaction

The government's agreement to purchase rubber directly from farmers drew mixed reaction with farmers in some provinces voicing opposition, while the rest giving support.

Secretary-general of an association for rubber and oil palm growers in Surat Thani province Mr Dendech Dechmanee said rubber growers will make move to stop the government’s plan to purchase 100,000 tonnes of rubber from farmers because the measure will not produce direct benefit to them.

He said his group will forward the demand to the government via Surat Thani governor.

He called on the government to cancel its plan to purchase rubber sheets and to only buy lump rubbers and rubber latex from farmers, reasoning that producers of lump rubbers and rubber latex are those who are hardest hit by the price plunge.

Yesterday Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has confirmed that the government will not solely determine the purchase price of rubbers under its new assistance plan and said both the government and farmers will jointly work out suitable purchase price that suffice farmers’ living.

General Prayut said that government representatives will be sent to meet with local farmers in each area to jointly work out suitable purchase price.

He denied the purchase price would be determined by the government on its own.

His clarification came after the government had agreed to buy 100,000 of rubbers from farmers at an above-market price to help relieve impact of the price plummet.

The prime minister also said that farmers in the southern region will be the first group to receive the assistance.

He said the government will first purchase rubbers from farmers who suffer from the price plummet the most to those who feel the impact the least.

General Prayut also said the rubber price subsidy approved by his government is different from subsidies rolled out by previous governments.

He said his measure aims to help rubber farmers on a sustainable basis.

The prime minister also noted that he has asked the Industry Ministry and the Science and Technology Ministry to assess quality of rubber products and give out certificate to rubber products with good quality to boost local demand for rubber products.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will purchase 2,000 tonnes of rubber from farmers at the price of 40 baht per kilogram to help them relieve impact of the price plummet.

He said purchased rubbers will be used in BMA projects such as constructions of rubber pathways in public parks. According to the governor, the BMA Environment Agency is planning a construction of rubber roads worth 80 million baht at the railway park at Chatuchak.

Army chief GenTeerachai Narkvanich also said the army is planning to use purchased rubbers to produce pillows and mattress for soldiers. Previously, the ministry has used rubbers in constructions of 37 roads in the southern region.