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.
    Reuters
    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

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora