Thanomkiart Yingchuan, an advisor to the chairman of the network of the Rubber Farmers Institute of Thailand, said the new agriculture minister, Chalermchai Sri-on from the Democrat Party, is well aware of the problem of low rubber prices.
Rubber growers have therefore pinned their hopes on Chalermchai speeding up a solution to prevent the prices from further falling, Thanomkiart said.
He said previous Democrat governments had solved the problem of falling rubber prices and so was familiar with the issue, but growers would wait to see how the new minister’s team addressed the issue.
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Thanomkiart said rubber growers feared that certain businessmen were collaborating to force the price down so that they could buy up rubber sheets to later resell when the government shores up the price.
Pratop Suksanan, president of the Trang Rubber Farmers Network, said the price for rubber sheet had earlier risen to Bt60.50 per kilogram for just one day before dipping to below Bt60.
He said after the prices of rubber sheets fell to below Bt60, the price of rubber latex also fell from Bt50 to about Bt41 and Bt42.
Urgent action is needed by the government, he said.
He attributed the fall to improper measures taken by the Rubber Authority of Thailand when its business unit tried to intervene in the market.
The authority’s business intervened by bidding at one of three central rubber markets at a time, while offering unrealistic prices of about Bt3 to Bt4 higher than the market price.
The method caused private firms to be unable to compete, and so it failed to shore up the price, Pratop said. The authority should instead have simultaneously intervened in the three central markets – Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla – by offering realistic prices to shore up the prices.