Govt poised to clear national parks of illegal rubber plantations

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Bangkok – The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) are preparing to scale down rubber plantation operations across the country to solve problems of deforestation and the oversupply of latex.

Surveys have found that rubber plantations across the country cover around 12 million acres, half of which are located in national forests and other protected areas.

The Ministry now plans to reduce rubber plantations in forest areas within 10 years. More than 64,000 acres of illegal plantations have already been reclaimed. The seized land will be allotted to landless farmers who will be urged to grow other economic plants.

ROAT aims to curb rubber production within seven years, by reducing plantations by 160,000 acres per year. The process has been underway for two years. The number of agriculturists having title deeds to their farming plots stands at 1.4 million. Those who have yet to get title deeds number around 2.9 million

The reduction in the number of rubber plantations is expected to end problems of forest invasion, rubber oversupply, and the present price slump while encouraging agriculturists to improve the quality of their products.