Oil palm growers from the South will gather in Bangkok tomorrow to press the government to shore up the price of fresh palm nuts.
The farmers want the government to guarantee a minimum palm nut price of 5 baht a kilogramme, up from the current 2.50-2.60 baht/kg.
Luecha Ounyuang, chairman of the Palm Tree Growers Association in Surat Thani, yesterday said the provincial growers' associations in Chumphon, Ranong, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang and Surat Thani provinces are pushing the government to deal with the falling prices of fresh palm nuts as the prices have dropped from 4-6 baht/kg to 2.50-2.60 baht/kg.
The six associations agreed to send 25 representatives to submit their demands to the government tomorrow and mobilise palm tree growers to stage rallies at provincial halls in the six southern provinces on the same day.
The associations want the government to shore up prices by next Tuesday.
They also asked the government to pay price differences to small-scale farmers through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, build a warehouse to store crude palm oil for export, speed up the production of B5-B10 biodiesel fuel, and appoint representatives of palm tree growers to sit on a committee to check the government's stockpile of crude palm oil, Mr Luecha said.
"We found irregularities in the government's policy to import palm oil. The country uses about 135,000 tonnes of palm oil for consumption and biodiesel production," he said.
From July to August, the country's crude palm oil inventories totalled 120,000 tonnes. About 30,000 tonnes of the oil were imported.
However, the crude palm oil inventories jumped to 270,000 tonnes in September, Mr Luecha said.
"We asked the Internal Trade Department about this sudden increase, but no one has given us an answer," he said.
Sitthiporn Jariyapong, chairman of the Surat Thani Farmers' Council, said price supports would help small-scale farmers.
Akkhadet Khanunnil, an oil palm farmer in Surat Thani, said prices of palm nuts had fallen from 4.50 baht/kg in September to 2.50 baht/kg this month. The production costs of major oil palm farmers were 3.20 baht/kg and small-scale farmers, 4.29 baht/kg, he said.
About the author
- Writer: Supapong Chaolan