Rubber growers invited to talks with govt today, rally continues


BANGKOK, Sept 3 – Government representatives will hold talks with rubber farmers this afternoon to work on solutions to their resentment over the rubber price slump.

Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said he and Deputy Prime Minister/Agriculture Minister Yukol Lim-laemthong have instructed southern rubber planters to send representatives to the discussion table.

He expressed the government’s sincerity in tackling the rubber price issue despite a deadlock so far on an acceptable purchase price.

Rubber farmers in the southern provinces vowed to hold a major rally in the South today to pressure the government to announce a higher pledging price for rubber.

The Agriculture Ministry earlier insisted on pledging rubber sheets at Bt80/kg but farmers demanded at least Bt100/kg.

The Natural Rubber Policy Committee (NRPC) will meet later today to review the planters’ demands, said Mr Kittiratt, who gave reassurances that the door for talks has never been closed.

The deputy prime minister said he was confident that the NRPC would find ways to help small-time farmers despite their harsh demands of the government.

Regarding the shooting of two rubber growers at a rally site in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Sunday, Mr Kittirat said police would issue an arrest warrant for the suspect. One man was killed and another injured in the shooting.

He urged demonstrators to end their road blockade in order to relieve people’s communication hardship but confirmed that the government would not enforce the Internal Security Act to pressure or disperse the protesters.