9 billion baht fund to be sought from Central Fund to help small rubber farmers
The board of Rubber Authority of Thailand will ask for 9 billion baht from the government’s Central Fund to help about 300,000 rubber planters who each owns not more than 10 rai of rubber plantation in the wake of falling natural rubber prices.
An informed source from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives said that each of the 300,000 small rubber planters will be given a subsidy of 1,000 baht for each rai of rubber plantation for three-month period, starting November 1.
The source said that about 1.7 million rubber planters had registered with the Rubber Authority of Thailand, but the board chose to help the 300,000 small planters because these planters take care of their plantations and harvest the latex themselves without hiring workers to do the job on their behalf.
The Rubber Authority’s proposal for the 9 billion baht funding will be submitted to the Natural Rubber Policy board headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for consideration.
The median price of third-grade smoked rubber sheet on September 24 was quoted at 42.36 baht per kilogramme while cup rubber’s price was quoted at 36.50 baht per kilogramme.
Natural rubber price in Thailand peaked to over 140 baht per kg in 2011, prompting many fruit orchard owners to fell their fruit trees and replace them with rubber trees. The skyrocketting price also sparked off widespread land encroachment of forest reserves as investors jumped on the bandwagon to reap profits from rubber.
But the price hike lasted only a few years before reality set in with oil prices started the downward slide, rubber prices took a nosedive, sending many new rubber planters into financial crisis.