Dismal rubber prices have pushed Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Chalermchai Sri-on, to formulate solutions to the tackle problem. The Agriculture Ministry is to work with the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAT) to survey the market’s rubber demand and set a suitable price for rubber for the upcoming business months.
Thailand’s current rubber production is expected to fall by 30% due to labour shortage and drought, which had caused rubber trees to die prematurely, especially in the northeastern region.
To mediate the situation, Chalermchai hopes to extend the domestic use of existing rubber products – the Agriculture Ministry will collaborate with other agencies to find ways to utilise rubber as raw material in road construction, traffic cones, road barriers, playground safety tiles and multi-purpose floor mats.
Also, the minister wants to investigate why the country’s five largest rubber exporters have suddenly ceased buying rubber from local farmers, following dubious “factory maintenance” claims.