Rubber panel doubles subsidy, 'final offer'
The National Rubber Policy committee on Monday agreed to double the subsidy for rubber farmers to 2,520 baht per rai, with a limit of 25 rai per farmer, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said.
- Published: 9/09/2013 at 05:31 PM
- Newspaper section: news
The previous offer was 1,260 baht per rai, with a 25 rai limit.
Mr Kittiratt said the proposed new subsidy would be tabled for cabinet consideration on Tuesday.
The decision was based on a calculation that with the 2,520 baht per rai subsidy the farmers would get about 12 baht per kilogramme for their rubber. This, when added to the current rubber price of 78 baht per kilogramme, the ensure they get about 90 baht per kilogramme, the same price they had demanded and agreed to, Mr Kittiratt said.
He said the subsidy would cost about 21.2 billion baht.
On Friday, representatives from the government led by Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok and representatives of protesting rubber farmers met and negotiated the price in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The representatives, assigned by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra, promised 90 baht kilo for unsmoked rubber sheets. Rubber planters in Cha-uat and Chulabhorn districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat reportedly accepted the offer.
"Most rubber farmers are satisfied with the price,'' said Mr Kittiratt, who chaired the meeting on Monday and was involved in the talks with the farmers and Pol Gen Pracha on Friday.
All southern provincial governors will be summoned to Government House for a meeting on Tuesday for a briefing on how to explain the new rubber price scheme to the farmers in their provinces, Pol Gen Pracha said.
However the issue looks far from settled as a group of rubber farmers led by Amuay Yutitham, who claimed to represent rubber farmers in all 14 southern provinces and two central provinces - Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan - on Monday reiterated his rejection of the 90 baht price promise and demanded five baht more.
He said the government must accept their price by Sept 13.
The group said on Sunday that rallies would be held on Sept 14 in many locations, including the Sadao checkpoint in Songkhla bordering northern Malaysia and at Pathomporn intersection on Phetkasem highway in Muang district of Chumphon, if the call was ignored.
The Pathomporn intersection is the main highway junction to other southern provinces from Chumphon.
National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew on Monday warned that farmers planning to block the border and stage more rallies would be breaking the law and would face police action.
Somporn Siriporananon, chairman of the Songkhla Chamber of Commerce, and other border trade and business operators said sealing the border at Sadao would severely damage the border economy.
About two million visitors to Thailand enter the country through the checkpoint at Sadao each year. Trade with Malaysia and Singapore at the checkpoint amounted to 500 billion baht a year, he said.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
- Position: Online Reporters