The Cabinet, during its meeting on 10 September 2013, approved a project to solve the rubber problems occurring through the whole system in 2014.
At the same meeting, it approved a fund of 21.2 billion baht to ease the rubber price problem in the short term.
The proposal for the tackling of the rubber problems was submitted by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, in his capacity as Chairman of the Natural Rubber Policy Committee. The Cabinet also assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to join forces in seeking ways to help rubber farmers who are facing falling prices.
In easing the rubber price problem in the short term, under the project to solve the rubber problems in the whole system in 2014, the Cabinet approved the proposal by the Natural Rubber Policy Committee to increase the subsidy for rubber farmers from 1,260 baht to 2,520 baht per rai
(0.4 acres), with a limit of 25 rai
(10 acres) of rubber plantation per farmer. The subsidy will be offered for a period of seven months, from September 2013 to March 2014.
The “cess,” or tax charged on rubber exports, has been scrapped for four months, from 2 September to 31 December 2013. The decision to scrap the cess is intended to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness in the global rubber market.
The Cabinet also agreed to add two representatives from rubber farmers to the Natural Rubber Policy Committee. The two representatives are the Chairman of the National Farmers Council and the Chairman of the Rubber Farmers Network of Thailand.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Police General Pracha Promnog on 10 September held a meeting with relevant ministers and officials to discuss assistance for rubber farmers. Also attending the meeting were governors of 16 provinces, namely Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Krabi, Chumphon, Phang-nga, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Trang, Pattani, Yala, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Rayong, Phuket, Satun, and Surat Thani.
The provincial governors were told to explain to rubber farmers in their respective provinces the Government’s policy and measures to help them. The Government has prepared short-term, mid-term, and long-term measures to ease the hardships of rubber planters. It has asked the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives and the Government Savings Bank to offer soft loans for entrepreneurs to process rubber and increase production capacity.
The Government would not opt to intervene in the rubber prices, as demanded by rubber protesters. Police officials and provincial governors were asked to create better understanding among the protesters. They were told to try to negotiate an end to the protests that have blocked roads and caused disruptions in the South. Results of their negotiations must be reported to the central administration immediately.