Rubber farmers nationwide hold differing opinions on promised aid

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BANGKOK, 30 August 2013Rubber farmers’ groups throughout the country have expressed mixed opinions on the assistance schemes promised by the government, with some saying they were preparing to join the nationwide protest on the 3 of September. 

The government has asserted it will not interfere with rubber prices, but will assist the farmers in the form of compensation money.

Rubber farmers and oil palm farmers in Suratthani and nearby provinces have scheduled a gathering on September 3 in Phunphin district, in order to express their plights. Leaders of the group insist they had no relations with the protesters currently blocking the roads in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

In Chumphon province, farmers who were planning to demonstrate at city hall on September 2 indicated that they would not use roadblocks to pressure the government.

Meanwhile, Chuan Chimklang, the head of the rubber farmers network in Nakhon Si Thammarat province has indicated that rubber farmers in the area are happy with the government’s assistance measures but are awaiting clarity on the details, especially regarding the promised 80 baht per kilogram price guarantee and help in finding interest-free loans. If these promises are fulfilled, the farmers under the network will not join the protest.

In the meantime, around 7,000 rubber farmers in Chaiyaphum rejected the government’s solution and said they might block Mitraphap Road, the main route to the Northeast, if their demands were not heeded.