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Palm oil farmers reopen roads to South

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Traffic to and from the South is moving freely again after palm oil farmer reached a short-term agreement with government officials. 

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Thousands of palm growers occupy the four-lane Phetkasem Road in Chumphon’s Tha Sae district yesterday to pressure the government to bolster falling palm oil prices. AMNART THONGDEE

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Palm oil farmers reopen roads to South

Palm oil prices have fallen to less than three baht a kilogramme, not enough to cover production costs, farmers say.

Farmers in the South, the largest area for palm oil production, have made numerous requests for help from the government, but they are not satisfied with the response.

The result? For much of yesterday, people had a very hard time driving to or from the main southern provinces.

That's because at least 3,000 palm oil farmers in Chumphon and seven other southern provinces set up two road blockades in Chumphon, blocking Phetkasem road and the Asia Highway, the two main routes through the area.

The farmers were demanding that the government take urgent action to ensure that factories would pay at least 5 baht per kilogramme for palm oil and to lower fertiliser prices.

The drastic action, their leaders said, was due to the government's failure to keep its promises.

They were particularly angered at the cabinet's failure to discuss their demands last Monday, as they said had been promised.

The cabinet instead referred the matter to the National Palm Oil Policy Committee which is not scheduled to meet until today.

These palm oil farmers, mainly from the Chumphon area, could be out again if a long-term price agreement is not reached soon. AMNART THONGDEE

Around two o’clock this morning, however, leaders of the palm oil group called off their blockade after having received assurances that the price of palm oil will be raised to at least four baht a kilogramme.

They say this is a short-term agreement that will allow the farmers and their families to make it through the festive season. What happens after that is still not clear.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok

occupy – to be in control of a place that you entered by force as a group ยึดครอง
pressure – to try to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way กดดัน
bolster – to make something stronger or more effective ทำให้เข้มแข็ง
production – the process of growing or making food, goods or materials, especially large quantities การผลิต
numerous – many มากมาย
request – an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way การขอร้อง
satisfied – pleased because you have achieved something or because something that you wanted to happen has happened  พอใจ  ถูกใจ
response – a reaction to something that has happened or been said การตอบสนอง
blockade – an action that is intended to prevent people or goods from moving from one place to another การกีดขวางการจราจร
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
route – the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another เส้นทาง
demand – to ask for something very firmly เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
urgent – of something you need to deal with immediately เร่งด่วน
ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done  ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
fertiliser – a natural or chemical substance which is spread on the land or given to plants, to make plants grow well ปุ๋ย
drastic – having a very big effect มีผลกระทบอย่างใหญ่หลวง
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
refer – to send somebody/something to somebody/something for help, advice or a decision ส่งถึง
matter – a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
scheduled – planned to happen at a particular time or day ตามตารางเวลา
long-term – that will last or have an effect over a long period of time ระยะยาว
assurance – a promise; a guarantee  การรับประกัน, การรับรอง
short-term – lasting a short time; designed only for a short period of time in the future ระยะสั้น, ช่วงสั้น
festive – connected with a festival or celebration รื่นเริง, เกี่ยวกับเทศกาล

Related search: palm oil price dispute, Chumphon blockake

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