Cabinet approves 100,000-tonne rubber purchase

Cabinet approves 100,000-tonne rubber purchase

The cabinet has approved the purchase by eight ministries of 100,000 tonnes of rubber directly from growers at an above-market price, and appointed eight new people to the 15-member Rubber Board.

Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha did not reveal the buying price but said it would be higher than the current 35 baht a kilogramme for latex.

"This should help farmers over the remaining three months before they stop tapping for the season. We won't buy from cooperatives," he said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

He said Thailand had 4.7 million tonnes of rubber while local demand was 1.4 million tonnes, so the country needed to increase usage by 30-50%.

"We'll accelerate building new factories to make mattresses for the military and other products such as gloves. This will simultaneously support new operators," he said.

But Gen Prayut added he could not meet the farmers' demand that rubber make up more than 5% of raw materials in road construction, because it would be a waste of budget funds.

The Public Warehouse Organisation will also buy rubber from farmers and sell it to processing factories, which will in turn sell finished products to the government.

The government's buying prices will be higher than market rates but not to the extent market mechanisms are distorted.

The cabinet also on Tuesday approved the appointment of eight new members to the Rubber Board on Tuesday, most of them farmers' representatives.

"We can't appoint all members today because some stakeholders have problems submitting names," he said.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said after the meeting the ministry would buy 3,000 tonnes for sports grounds and pathways at tourist destinations, as well as wrist bands to promote tourism.


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