THAILAND: Agriculture ministry optimistic rubber price will return to normal mid-2014

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Yukol Limlaemthong said the government would rather subsidize rubber farmers for their production costs than to guarantee the price of their produce at 100 baht per kilogram as demanded. The minister elaborated that the government could not intervene in the price of rubber since it would distort the market mechanism and make the market price go even lower.

The government has already implemented several measures to assist the farmers, including low-interest lending through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and direct purchase of rubber from the farmers. All the measures are expected to help bring the rubber price back to the normal level no later than mid-2014.

Rubber farmers from 16 provinces have been rallying since 26 October 2013 in Prachuap Khiri Khan in conjunction with oil palm farmers. The group is demanding the government to guarantee a price of 100 baht per kilogram for rubber and 6 baht per kilogram for oil palm.

Source: Daily "Pattaya Mail", Pattaya City; 28 Oct 2013(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)