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Rubber farmers want more than a subsidy, suspect graft

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Rubber farmers want more than a subsidy, suspect graft
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Leaders of rubber farmers in the South have expressed disappointment with the government subsidy of Bt1,000 per rai, limited to a maximum of 15 rai each.

Tossapol Kwanrod, chairman of the rubber and palm oil farmers’ network in 16 southern provinces, said the government had ignored calls from the rubber farmers to offer sustainable solutions. It had opted to provide short-term remedies similar to those of previous governments.

Tossapol said the government had chosen to support capitalists by approving a budget for the Rubber Estate Organisation to buy the rubber and store it in warehouses.

“This measure is suspicious. We want the government to check rubber stocks to see if the 210-billion tonnes of rubber kept in storage earlier is still intact. By giving money to the organisation to buy rubber, we wonder if this is because rubber kept in store earlier is no longer in the stock,’ he said.

He said his group had called on the government to check the rubber stock two months ago, but their call had fallen on deaf ears.

“This makes us believe the rubber is no longer in storage. It disappeared from the time of the previous government. This government must [determine] if any irregularities took place in the previous government. We suspect that some warehouses may be burnt down to cover up evidence. If that is the case, we are sure that there is corruption in the scheme,’ he said.

He called for a panel to be set up to check rubber stocks the same way a panel was set up to check rice stocks.

He said his group would hold seminars to expose alleged irregularities in rubber storage.

Tossapol said his group had called on the government to support rubber farmers by constructing factories to transform rubber into products, setting up co-operatives or unions so farmers had bargaining power to leverage against capitalists. “We will protect our rubber farms, which have been our livelihood since our ancestors,’ he said.

He accused the government of helping only business people.

“Foreign companies have taken control of the market mechanism of agricultural produce. We have been pushed to the edge and have lost our land and can leave nothing much to our children.”

He vowed to exercise his right to demand state support to keep rubber farming as a livelihood for the next generation.

Boonsong Nabthong, president of the Rubber Farmers Confederation of Thailand, said the government subsidy to farmers of Bt1,000 per rai was just a short-term remedy. He said the government must come up with a rubber price restructuring, setting up industries to process rubber instead of solely relying on exports.

Sonthorn Rakrong, a rubber farmer leader, said farmers had over the past two years suffered losses due to the high cost of fuel and fertiliser. He said the government subsidy did not support all farmers but only farmers who have particular land title deeds.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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