Rubber farmers continue blocking road to South

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PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, OCT 29 – Rubber farmers from Thailand’s South have defied the authorities’ order to stop blocking Phetchkasem Road, the major route leading to the southern region, and vowed to continue their demonstration until their demands were met.

The rubber and oil palm farmers from 16 provinces in the South, however, moved chairs and tents from Km Marker 415 in Saphan Noi district to the roadside but refused to disperse.

Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor Wira Siwatthanatrakun met with the farmers’ leaders but no agreement was reached.

Motorists heading for or coming from the South were instructed to use the seaside road to avoid Petchkasem Road which was blocked between Km 400 and Km 423.

Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act would remain in force in the province to facilitate maintaining public order.

A tripartite committee comprising employers, farmers and academics was set up to find resolutions to the falling prices of rubber and palm oil.

Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok said it was impossible to agree with the farmers’ five demands which, most importantly, involve pledging rubber price at Bt100/kg.

He said the provincial governor was empowered to take legal action if the protesters refused to open Petchkasem Road.

Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong said the government could not interfere in the market mechanism by purchasing rubber at Bt100/kg but farmers would be granted financial assistance for rubber production.

Oil palm farmers from 26 provinces met in Surat Thani yesterday to discuss solutions to declining price of palm oil and agreed to submit their proposals to the government for further action.