News / Asia

Thai Rubber Farmers Threaten Intensified Protests as Government Rejects Demands

FILE - Rubber farmers sit on tires as they block a road during a protest in Surat Thani, Sept. 3, 2013.
FILE - Rubber farmers sit on tires as they block a road during a protest in Surat Thani, Sept. 3, 2013.
Rubber farmers in Thailand on Tuesday threatened to intensify protests as the government rejected their calls for Bangkok to buy their produce at prices higher than the market value.
A group of rubber farmers, fluctuating in size between 200 and 300, were continuing to block a main road with trees and trucks after gathering on Monday in the Bang-saphan district, around 190 miles south of Bangkok, police said.
The move has, so far, not affected output or shipments from the world's biggest rubber producer and exporter. However, there are fears deliveries to the Bangkok port may be disrupted if protests escalate.
Angered by steep falls in prices, the farmers want the government to buy rubber sheet from them at 100 baht ($3.22) per kg, more than a third higher than the market price on Tuesday of 72 baht. They have snubbed a subsidy offered last month.
“If they don't buy rubber from us at 100 baht per kg, they will see [a] much bigger protest tomorrow,” said Tossapol Kwanraud, one of the protest's leaders. He declined to say how protests could be intensified.
Earlier on Tuesday, the government dismissed the protesters' demands.
“We have no plan to push up rubber prices by buying at high prices and keeping it in stocks as that would be a costly scheme that would not sustainably support farmers,” said Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong.
A senior government official claimed about 1,500 police officers were on standby in case of violence.
Weera Sriwattanatrakul, governor of the region where the protest is taking place, told reporters the government had proposed forming a committee comprising farmers, exporters and officials to work on stabilizing prices.
Although some protesters said they were interested in the suggestion, others said they would be sticking with their demands.
The price of unsmoked Thai rubber sheet has changed little from the end of 2012, held down by weak demand from China and other big consumers. It is far below the 180 baht reached in February 2011, when benchmark smoked rubber sheet (RSS3) hit a record price of $6.40 per kg on global markets.
After the drop in prices last year, the government spent $690 million buying rubber from October 2012 to May 2013, and built up stocks of 210,000 tons of rubber sheet without having much impact on prices.
Thailand produces around 3.8 million tons of rubber sheet a year, which represents around a third of the world's output, and exports 90 percent of it.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs