BANGKOK, 8 June 2015 – Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan has disclosed the progress of the campaign to reclaim forestland from encroachers, saying a vast area of rubber farms in Phetchabun province has been taken back.
Gen Dapong indicated that, from the total of 22 million rai of rubber plantations across Thailand, about 5.5 million rai was illegally set up in forest reserves and is currently being reclaimed by the ministry. He said the ministry’s land reclamation project has been ongoing and recently began in Nam Nao district of Phetchabun province, where up to 13,000 rai has been retrieved from rubber planters.
The minister noted that, if successful, the project will help restore the amount of forests in the country and also bring down the supply of rubber, leading to an increase in rubber prices.
In addition, Gen Dapong explained that the confiscation of land is intended as the government’s punishment specifically for forest encroachers who are capitalists. As for rubber growers who are low-income earners and affected by the measure, he assured the government will provide them with assistance or compensation.