RUBBER GROWERS in the South have stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to issue a junta order to help shore up the sagging prices of natural rubber.
The growers planned to take part in different forums on the matter to be held in many provinces in the South over the next few days, where they would discuss their idea, Thanomkiat Yingchuan, secretary of the Network of Southern Rubber Growers, said yesterday.
He said the rubber growers have decided to step up pressure after it seemed the government was not serious about tackling the problem of falling rubber prices.
Thanomkiat also said that rubber growers in the South had petitioned all levels of authorities – the provincial authorities, the Rubber Authority of Thailand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, in addition to other relevant state agencies.
“But we failed to get their attention. And the rubber prices continue to nosedive every day,” he said, adding that the price of rubber latex has now declined to Bt38-40 a kilogram.
“That is unacceptable to the rubber growers. We are now ready to take part in all the forums that will be held in the next few days,” he added.
Thanomkiat said his group had urged Prayut, in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), to issue an order under Article 44 of the interim charter to require state agencies to use more natural rubber, particularly in road construction.
More local consumption needed
The NCPO’s wide-ranging power under Article 44 has been retained under the new Constitution.
Thanomkiat said there should be more local consumption for the surplus rubber output and that state agencies would be able to help best in absorbing the supply. In response to the fact that the cost of rubber in road construction is higher than the usual content, he argued that rubber was more durable than the normal content.
“We are not calling for natural rubber to be used in 100 per cent of the roads to be constructed. We just want rubber to be used in some 10,000 square kilometres of road areas a year, which is equal to about 100,000 tonnes of rubber,” he said.
“State agencies should be encouraged to use more rubber from local production. This is what the prime minister and his government have to do to help reduce the local supply,” Thanomkiat added.
Meanwhile, the Network of Rubber Grower Groups of Thailand has voiced its support to the call for Prayut to issue an order under Article 44 to help solve the problem of declining rubber prices, according to the group’s public relations official Prayoonsak Khananurak.
He said the government should help boost domestic demand by encouraging more use of rubber in construction of asphalt roads.
Rubber growers all over the country will be hanging banners at their places with messages calling for Prayut to issue an order under Article 44 to help prop up the rubber prices, Prayoonsak said.