Connect with us

Business

Thai rubber farmers feel ‘betrayed’ by military government

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Thai rubber farmers who supported anti-government protests that led to a military coup in May say they feel betrayed because the ruling military is failing to help soften the blow of plunging rubber prices.

Thailand is the world’s largest rubber producer and exporter, but falling prices and a decision by the military not to extend subsidies risks alienating rubber farmers, most of whom are in the south.

Rubber farmer Somkid Unping joined demonstrations that began late last year, aimed at bringing down the populist government of then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The government was ousted in a May 22 coup but Mr Somkid, who is from the southern province of Surat Thani, said his hopes for a better deal for rubber farmers had been dashed.

“We stayed for months because we believed that a new government would not neglect us,” Mr Somkid said.

“We feel betrayed.”

The junta has tried to step back from a culture of subsidies across the agricultural sector although junta leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who became prime minister on Monday, has said the government would offer some help, including soft loans for producers to buy fertilizer.

But disgruntled farmers say that is not enough.

Six rubber farmers’ associations plan to meet Gen Chatchai Sarikalaya, a member of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order, to voice their concern.

“We heard General Prayuth say on television last week that he cares about rubber farmers but the intention to help has come too late,” Boonsong Nabtong, chairman of the Federation of Rubber Planters Association of Thailand and a supporter of the Democrat Party, told Reuters.

There were no plans to protest, he said.

FALLING GLOBAL DEMAND

A bastion of the Democrat Party, southern Thailand is the main rubber-growing region.

The six months of protests in Bangkok that helped bring about the ouster of Ms Yingluck’s government were led by Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy premier in a government run by the Democrat Party. Mr Suthep, a southerner also from Surat Thani province, called on rubber farmers to help bolster the protests.

Thailand produced 4.2 million tons of rubber in 2013, of which 3.7 tons were for export, generating about 200 billion baht (US$6.27bn).

This year, because of falling global demand, physical rubber prices have fallen 24 per cent, with the benchmark Thai smoked rubber sheet (RSS3) dropping to 59.02 baht (US$1.85) per kg on Tuesday, from 78.16 baht (US$2.45) early this year, far below the record of 204.16 baht (US$6.40) per kg set in 2011 when demand from China was strong.

Ms Yingluck’s government spent 22bn baht (US$690mn) building rubber stockpiles under state-funded price-support programs that included buying rubber at above-market rates.

The program mirrored a money-guzzling rice subsidy program that cost taxpayers billions of dollars and fuelled opposition to the government from the establishment.

The military’s 2015 budget plan has already sparked criticism from some politicians for allocating too much money to compensate for the previous administration’s failed populist policies.

But some farmers said they are not looking for handouts but instead wanted the military government to support prices by holding back stocks. The military government approved a plan on Monday to sell its 200,000-ton rubber stockpile.

— Reuters

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Koh Samui3 hours ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand7 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand18 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World20 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand22 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Coronavirus News & Updates1 day ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand1 day ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand1 day ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending