THAILAND: Thai agriculture ministry to launch overall rubber reform

He made the promise while receiving a complaint from growers opposing the Rubber Aurhority of Thailand Bill on setting up a rubber organization of Thailand to manage the resource, the rubber development fund, define the powers of the Rubber Board of Thailand, and set fees for rubber export.

Mr Amnuay said the reform would cover rubber growing, operators, latex processing, rubber exports and joint rubber marketing efforts with neighboring countries.

The minister said Thailand agreed with Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to increase the natural rubber price to Bt60 per kilogram in 18 months. Chinese operators' purchase of Thai rubber was a good sign, he said.

The Thai government is speeding up financial aid to 8,700 rubber grower families. The subsidy is set at 1,000 baht per rai of plantation and is estimated to cost the state Bt8.7 billion. Payments began 1 Nov 2014.

Opponents of the Rubber Authority of Thailand bill see it not protecting everyone in the rubber business, that it left out farmers with no land rights documents and latex collectors who always paid a rubber duty.

They also demanded actual representatives of rubber growers comprise the majority of the rubber authority board and that a rubber farmers' fund be raised from the so-called Cess duty to cope with the rubber price crisis.

Source: Daily "Pattaya Mail", Pattaya City; 27 Nov 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)