NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Sept 11 – Rubber farmers in 16 southern provinces have accepted the government’s latest offer of Bt2,520 financial aid for a rai (0.4 acre) of plantation.
The network of rubber and oil palm growers in 16 southern provinces agreed to the assistance but demanded that the government increase rubber price to Bt100/kg from June 1 next year, or they will stage a protest again.
The farmers earlier called on the government to pledge rubber price at Bt95/kg – a demand that was never met by the state
The Bt2,520/rai financial aid is limited to a maximum of 25 rai (10 acres) per household and will be valid for seven months, or from September to March.
Amnuay Yuthitham, a leader of the southern growers network, said the government must sign the agreement on Friday, refrain from taking legal action against protest leaders and demonstrators, and provide assistance to those injured or affected by last week’s protests.
The government must also help oil palm farmers by granting them Bt6/kg compensation for the selling and buying price difference of palm oil, said Mr Amnuay.
Pirapong Kaewnuan, a grower representative in Prachuap Khiri Khan, said farmers were not responsible for the burning of two media vehicles during their demonstration in the province, quoting eyewitnesses as saying that some men in black were spotted during the incident.
Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok gave assurances that rubber growers would not resume their demonstration on Saturday as earlier announced as they were satisfied with the government’s newest offer.