Govt’s assistance package accepted by rubber farmers nationwide

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BANGKOK, Sept 14 – Rubber farmers nationwide have accepted the state’s financial assistance at Bt2,520 per rai (0.4 acre) of rubber plantation but made a few additional requests to the government.

Representatives from the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund and the rubber farmers network jointly discussed the government’s financial measures which grants Bt2,520 per rai to farmers with the maximum of 25 rai (10 acres) per household for seven months, starting October 1.

The farmers said the financial aid should be 25 rai per farmer, not per household, and the assistance should cover farmers who planted rubber trees on land without legal documents.

They also wanted the government to resume collection of rubber duty at Bt3 per kg, saying that the suspension of tax collection has affected their revenue by at least Bt4.5 billion.

They called on the government to pay compensation to rubber tappers and the Commerce Ministry to set up a market for future purchases of rubber.

The government should find ways to encourage more domestic consumption of rubber, according to the growers’ representatives.

Therdsak Sermsri, president of the National Rubber Growers Network, said the farmers accepted the Cabinet’s Tuesday decision on short-term assistance to them but proposed that some of the measures should be reviewed.

He said rubber farmers nationwide would be told to stop their demonstrations but he could not guarantee that protests would not be organised again in the future.