Govt confirms better help for rubber farmers underway

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BANGKOK, 1 September 2013 Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Warathep Rattanakorn has denied the allegations that the government discriminates on its assistance for farmers, saying the government is sincere in solving the problem of rubber price drop. 

During his trip to the southern province of Surat Thani on Sunday, the minister said the Cabinet would soon consider assistance measures for rubber farmers following their planned mass protests on September 3rd in Surat Thani. The government was likely to help rubber farmers by paying them 1,260 baht per Rai and delaying collecting 2 baht per kilogram from them for the national rubber fund for four months.

Mr Warathep expressed his confidence that such assistance measures would appease the farmers.

The government was not biased against rubber farmers and it used different aid measures for different groups of farmers, the minister said. Therefore, the processes of managing rice and rubber were totally different, Mr Warathep said.

Protesting rubber farmers have accused the government of being biased against them and giving preference to rice farmers as evidenced in the rice pledging scheme worth hundreds of billions of baht.